baltimoresun.com

July 6, 2011

Baltimore man sues Live Nation for "exorbitant" Jackson Browne tickets

A Baltimore man sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster last week saying the entertainment behemoth overcharged him for Jackson Browne tickets.

Now he's seeking to recover the service charges as well as punitive charges and attorneys' fees.

The man, Andre Bourgeois, filed the lawsuit last Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for Maryland as an individual and also as a class action. Or, in other words, on behalf of anyone who bought tickets from the Ticketmaster in the past four years and felt gouged.

Though the lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount from Live Nation, the combined damages from those in the class could exceed $5 million, according to the complaint filed by Towson firm Quinn, Gordon & Wolf.

The Daily Record, which first reported the news, points out that Live Nation already settled a similar case in January for $22.3 million.

At the heart of this lawsuit is Bourgeois' allegation that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are not registered as ticket agencies by the city of Baltimore, and therefore, their "exorbitant" service fees are are tantamount to scalping under city law.

Through a spokeswoman, Live Nation had no comment. "We do not comment on pending litigation," Liz Morentin said.

Continue reading "Baltimore man sues Live Nation for "exorbitant" Jackson Browne tickets" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:19 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Music News
        

June 30, 2011

Charlie Wilson spans the R&B generation gap

On Sunday, Charlie Wilson will headline the African American Festival at M&T Bank Stadium. Al Shipley interviewed Wilson for tomorrow's Live Section.

Here's an excerpt:

Charlie Wilson has been alive for 58 years, and has been singing for nearly all of them — first in his church choir and then in The Gap Band, the pioneering funk group he formed at the age of 14 with his brothers Ronnie and Robert.

That long, remarkable career has reached an unlikely new peak with Wilson's success as a solo artist...[He] credits his continued good fortunate to his instrument.

 "The sound of my voice never went out of style," he said.

The rest of the interview is here

For a full schedule of performances at the festival, click here. Another veteran singer, Chuck Brown, who will also be performing at the festival this weekend, was interviewed in last week's paper. 

Continue reading "Charlie Wilson spans the R&B generation gap" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Live!, Music News
        

June 28, 2011

Concert news: Black Eyed Peas, Stephen Malkmus, Ani DiFranco

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks will perform at Rams Head Live in September, it was announced today.

The Pavement frontman will release new album "Mirror Traffic," produced by Beck of all people, in August. He performs at Rams Head September 29. Tickets, at $20, are on sale already.

Also performing at Rams Head this Fall will be Ani DiFranco. The singer-songwriter will be in Baltimore October 22. Tickets, at $40, are on sale already.

Announced last week: the Black Eyed Peas, who performed in Baltimore last year,  are coming back this summer.

Their performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion July 30 is so far the only announced show of what is likely an upcoming tour. Tickets are on sale now.

Continue reading "Concert news: Black Eyed Peas, Stephen Malkmus, Ani DiFranco" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

June 23, 2011

U2 draws 75,000 to M&T Bank Stadium, Live Nation says

Ok, one last U2 post. The official count for Wednesday night's U2 show is 75,000 people, according to Live Nation. The number is 5,000 shy of the crowd stadium officials had predicted earlier this week. But it matches the house record of 75,000 who attended the 1999 HFStival.

A spokeswoman for M&T Bank Stadium confirmed Live Nation's number, but could not confirm where the audience ranked in the venue's history.

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:52 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Music News
        

June 22, 2011

Nancy Pelosi rocks out with U2

So U2 went on about 20 minutes ago, and we're starting to get some reports about notable fans at M&T Bank Stadium.

Our Head of Digital Trif Alatzas spotted House Minority Leader and Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi in the audience. Apparently the California Democrat decided to watch U2 rather than President Obama's speech on Afghanistan.

And while Erik reported earlier that Gov. Martin O'Malley wasn't coming, Maryland's first lady, Katie O'Malley, did make it to the concert.

Posted by Tim Swift at 9:20 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

U2 show will go on "rain or shine," Live Nation says

With a 60 percent chance of rain this evening, there was some concern lightning would prevent the show from going forward.

Live Nation released a statement this afternoon, via spokesman Jeremiah Xenakis:

“Fans should wear their raingear.  The concert will proceed rain or shine.  If due to weather, it is deemed dangerous to the fans, then a decision would be made at that time.”

Earlier: what fans are allowed to bring to the stadium. 

A source at M&T also said the stadium has an emergency plan for shelter in case of lightning.

Continue reading "U2 show will go on "rain or shine," Live Nation says" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

No umbrellas or 'signs on sticks' at U2 show, M&T Bank Stadium says

IMG00172-20110622-1252.jpgForecasters are predicting a 60 percent chance of rain tonight after 4 p.m., but M&T Bank Stadium says U2 fans are not allowed to bring umbrellas with them to the band's concert.

Fans are also not allowed to bring "signs on sticks," wrote M&T Stadium spokeswoman Megan Collins.

The show will not be exempt from the stadium's usual rules, which also bans "fireworks, laser pointers, banners, flashlights, glow sticks, inflatable balloons, beach balls, etc."

Also prohibited: cameras with anything larger than a 3-inch lens; video cameras and audio recording equipment.

Not that you'd want to have any of that with all the lightning that's expected.  

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:07 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Music News
        

Ulman, Rawlings-Blake to join plebes at U2 show; O'Malley, shockingly, missing out

Expect to see some familiar faces among the seventy five thousand or gazillion people who’ll be at U2 tonight.

Just from the number of politicians going, you’d think we were entering a second week of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Howard County executive and Katy Perry fan Ken Ulman doesn’t go to many shows outside of the music venue in his county, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

But he’s a big fan of the composers of “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark.”

“My wife and I are going. It’s pretty exciting for Baltimore and the region,” he said.

Ulman, who last saw U2 live at RFK stadium some years ago, is getting a mid-afternoon presentation on how the tour organizers mitigate the carbon footprint on a show this big. Though he’s campaigned on green issues, Ulman said he still doesn’t know how he got invited.

“I’m supposed to be there at 4 p.m. or something,” he said. “Then im going to enjoy the show like a fan.” You can rest assured, he said, the kids are staying home for this one.

Continue reading "Ulman, Rawlings-Blake to join plebes at U2 show; O'Malley, shockingly, missing out" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

June 21, 2011

U2 stage being assembled at M&T Bank Stadium

A dispatch from the press conference is here, and a photo gallery is here.
Posted by Erik Maza at 3:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

U2 show at M&T Bank Stadium previewed at Tuesday press conference

Live Nation and M&T Bank Stadium gave local media a preview of the massive, four-legged stage the band will use Wednesday night. Jennifer Davis was there and reports:

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, tour director Craig Evans discussed the size of U2's stage on the 360-degree tour and how it was installed. 

He also confirmed that 1,500 extra tickets were released to Ticketmaster for the show. 

U2's stage consists of a four-legged steel structure that is 90 feet tall, with its central pylon reaching 150 feet tall. It is clad in "a Formula 1 motor racing fabric" that appears green in daylight, and changes colors at night.

The set also features a cylindrical video screen that, when open, encompasses 14,000 square feet. It weighs close to 54 tons and is made up of 1 million pieces.

Evans said the stage is so big it's actually installed days before the concert takes place. The first day is dedicated to installing the steel flooring system on the field, which is needed to support the rest of the structure.  And the steel structure requires an additional four days to build. A production day follows, where the screen, stage and production equipment are brought in.

On average, the size of the tour crew is anywhere between 380 to 520 people. For this event, Evans hired about 1,500 local workers to control security, act as stagehands, and work the concessions. Once the show date has come and passed, it requires two full days to dismantle the set.

Continue reading "U2 show at M&T Bank Stadium previewed at Tuesday press conference" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:37 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

Concert news: Stevie Nicks, Toby Keith, Jeff Mangum, Erasure, Martin Lawrence

Stevie Nicks is thankfully back on tour.

She has a new album out, "In Your Dreams," and will kick off the new tour in Denver August 9. 

Nicks, who last toured with Rod Stewart, was one of the first performers to embrace the double-bill model Live Nation, some independent promoters and many artists are pushing this year. 

Nicks will perform at Jiffy Lube Live September 3. Tickets, starting at $26, go on sale Friday. 

Jiffy Lube, which just hosted Jason Aldean, will host another country superstar September 10. 

Toby Keith will perform there as part of his "Locked & Loaded" tour, which sounds very ominous for a concert. Tickets, starting at $29, go on sale Friday. 

Jeff Mangum announced Monday five new shows in the United States, and Baltimore has two of them. Mangum will be at 2640 Space September 26 and 27. Tickets, at $27, go on sale Wednesday.

Continue reading "Concert news: Stevie Nicks, Toby Keith, Jeff Mangum, Erasure, Martin Lawrence" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

June 15, 2011

Police arrest 24 at Phish concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion

phishdrugs.JPGTwenty four people were arrested at a couple of Phish concerts over the weekend, Howard County Police said in a statement today.

In addition, three cars containing drugs, including ecstasy and pot, were seized, as well as $2,000 in cash. Twenty citations for underage drinking were also issued.

There's regular police enforcement at Merriweather during the summer concert season, but, "additional resources were allocated for the Phish concerts, which have historically shown increased drug activity at the venue," police said.

For the concert, police sent  officers from the special ops, vice, narcotics, traffic and patrol divisions.

Continue reading "Police arrest 24 at Phish concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:27 PM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Music News
        

June 13, 2011

New music festival from Rams Head features Sharon Jones, Matt & Kim; plus, Jill Scott concert news

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Trombone Shorty, and Matt & Kim will headline Silopanna, a new music festival this year produced by Rams Head Promotions.

The line-up for the one-day festival, which takes place August 27 at at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville, was announced today.

It also includes Fitz and the Tantrums, Jimie's Chicken Shack, All Mighty Senators, Grilled Lincolns, Harper Blynn, as well as some regional acts that were not included in today's press release.

Silopanna, if you hadn't caught on, is Annapolis spelled backwards.

Silopanna is joining a crowded festival season, but, in today's press release, 103.1 WRNR DJ Bob Waugh is quoted as saying, “In Silopanna, there finally is a local music festival we can really get behind."

Waugh might want to review all the festivals that have taken place already this year - Scapescape, Starscape, Sweetlife, Deathfest - and those that are coming up - Artscape, African American Fest, HFStival, and Virgin Mobile.

Silopanna is intended to be a family-friendly event; the festival is open to all ages and children under the age of six are admitted for free.

Cost of admission was not included in the press release is $39.50; tickets go on sale June 17.

Continue reading "New music festival from Rams Head features Sharon Jones, Matt & Kim; plus, Jill Scott concert news" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:47 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

June 9, 2011

Concert news: Maryland Deathfest X, Wye Oak, The National, Bryan Ferry

Maryland Deathfest IX ended just a week ago, but organizers have already set a date for the next edition.

It'll start May 24- 28, 2012. On their facebook page, organizers said a line-up will be announced soon. 

Wye Oak will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer. The duo, who released the excellent "Civilian" earlier this year, will open for The National and Yo La Tengo September 6.

Jenn Wasner talked about the making of the album in a Sun story from April.

Tickets for that show, which start at $30, go on sale Friday. 

Bryan Ferry, who released "Olympia" last year, will perform in the area as well. He'll be at Bethesda's Music Center at Strathmore October 3.  Tickets, starting at $55, go on sale Friday.

Continue reading "Concert news: Maryland Deathfest X, Wye Oak, The National, Bryan Ferry" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:22 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

June 7, 2011

Concert news: Enrique Iglesias, Blink-182, Arbouretum, Dolly Parton

Arbouretum have returned from an European tour, and will perform two local shows this summer.

The band will perform at Golden West June 19 with Moeaners and Headwounds. And, it will be at the Ottobar July 29 with Disappears and Psychic Paramount. Tickets for that show, at $10, are on sale already.

Label Thrill Jockey says the band's new album, "The Gathering," sold out its initial LP run and is being repressed. The band last performed in the area at Scapescape.

It looks like My Chemical Romance is coming to the area after all. A couple of weeks ago I confused the band with My Morning Jacket, who's playing at Merriweather Post Pavilion in August.

But today it was announced My Chemical Romance will in fact perform at Jiffy Lube Live August 12. The band will open for Blink-182, who are getting ready to release a new album this summer. Tickets, starting at $25 go on sale Friday.

Enrique Iglesias, who canceled as Britney Spear's touring partner a few months ago, has announced a local date for his own headlining tour. He will perform, with the ubiquitous Pitbull, at the Patriot Center September 27. Tickets, starting at $19.50, go on sale Friday. 

Continue reading "Concert news: Enrique Iglesias, Blink-182, Arbouretum, Dolly Parton" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

June 1, 2011

Concert news: Nas, Damian Marley, Boys Noize, African American Fest

PX00249_9.JPGCharlie Wilson, the Grammy-nominated singer, and Noel Gourdine will headline the African American Festival at M&T Bank Stadium July 2 and 3, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced this morning.

At least two more acts will be announced in the coming months, said mayor spokesman Ian Brennan, one "an actor and the other is a Grammy winner."

The festival, funded this year in part through a $75,000 city grant that was approved in early May, is one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast. It attracts some 300,000 people every year, according to the city.

The Summer Spirit Festival, which takes place August 14 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, has already started advertising. The Roots and Chuck Brown, who performed last year alongside Common, Erykah Badu and others, are returning this year.

The headliners are Nas and Damian Marley Jr. Tickets, which start at $44, go on sale Monday. 

Continue reading "Concert news: Nas, Damian Marley, Boys Noize, African American Fest" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

Kenny Chesney on what to expect Saturday at FedEx Field

Kenny Chesney took a break from touring in 2009. “If I’d toured, I’d have toured with the same songs,” he said. “The whole thing needed a break.”

But, he’s back this year with a new album, “Hemingway’s Whiskey,” that, even by his own admission, is the heaviest and most grown-up he’s done until now. 

(In a story later this week, he talks about how the album came together. Update: The full interview is here.)

Chesney, who performs Saturday at FedEx Field, said his live show has also changed dramatically from what fans remember.

“Last time I played FedEx I had 12 people with me on stage,” he said. Now, he’s downsized to a seven piece.

Continue reading "Kenny Chesney on what to expect Saturday at FedEx Field" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

May 24, 2011

Wu-Tang's Raekwon to perform at Dubai this summer

raekwon_01-12.jpgRaekwon will perform at Dubai June 12, it was announced this week. 

Rae is touring with "Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang," his fifth album. The album was originally going to be a Wu project, but instead ended up just featuring several members except for U-God and RZA. Nas and Rick Ross are also featured.

Rae last performed in Baltimore in December at Wu-tang's show at Sonar.

Promoters sent the announcement for the latest show Monday night, though the news seems to have been on their Facebook page for over a week. 

Dubai has been accumulating a solid roster of headliners lately. Beyond Raekwon, Yo Gotti will perform there May 28 and Young Jeezy is scheduled for June 11.

Tickets for the show are $25 at the door. They can be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.com

Photo: Da Best Ofs

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:19 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

May 20, 2011

Preakness music: Train on Infield's reputation, "Glee," and winning another Grammy

Train knows its audience.

“For the most part, I’d be accurate in saying soccer moms were big Train fans,” says lead singer Pat Monahan.

The band's songs through the 90s and early 2000s - "Drops of Jupiter," "Meet Virginia," "Calling All Angels" - made them as much of a presence on adult contemporary radio as Delilah.

But with their fifth album, “Save Me San Francisco,” they’ve broadened their fan base to include the soccer moms’ daughters too.

First single “Hey, Soul Sister” has been certified platinum five times, and scored a Grammy just this year, beating younger acts like Paramore and Maroon 5.

That wide audience made the band, now in its 16th year, a natural fit, maybe the most natural, for the new Preakness Infield, where organizers have tried for the past couple of years to create a carefully balanced atmosphere in place of the debauchery of the BYOB years: fun, but not too rowdy; drunken, but not too plastered.

“You want to play in front of a crowd that’s warm but not over the edge,” Monahan said of his ideal audience. “You know when you’re drinking, depending on your level of alcohol, on your third or fourth beer, you're like, ‘I’m feeling better than ever,” then by your eighth or ninth, you're like (imitates drunken gibberish). We want to catch them at the half way mark.”

The band performs at Pimlico Race Track on Saturday after Maryland’s Hotspur and before Bruno Mars. Puddle of Mudd, Phil Vassar, and Mr. Greengenes will also play on a second stage at the tracks.

The show comes after a big comeback year for Train.

Continue reading "Preakness music: Train on Infield's reputation, "Glee," and winning another Grammy" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:14 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

Jason Aldean on "Dirt Road Anthem," his next single, and his show at Jiffy Lube Live

Jason Aldean talks about Kelly Clarkson, Colt Ford, and his touring band in a Q&A in today's paper.

Here are some parts of the interview that didn't make it in print because of space. 

Aldean, who performs on Saturday at Jiffy Lube Live, is touring with his newest album "My Kinda Party." "Dirt Road Anthem" is his latest single.

Q: When did you start working on the album, and when was “Dirt Road” added to the mix?

A: We started working on this record probably at the end of 2009. We went back at the start of the year and cut a few more songs. We finished it up in the early part of 2010. “Dirt Road Anthem” was added pretty early because it was something we talked about pretty early on. I got around to cutting it in my second session. We recorded in Nashville in the same little studio I’ve recording at for 12 years, called Treasure Isle.

Q: Are there more singles off “My Kinda Party” planned?

A: There’s at least one more single, possibly two. Depends on a lot of different things, mainly hinges on how “Dirt Road Anthem performs. I don’t a clue yet when it’ll come out. If I had to pick, I’d pick “See You When I See You,” which is also a ballad.

Continue reading "Jason Aldean on "Dirt Road Anthem," his next single, and his show at Jiffy Lube Live" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:27 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Music News
        

May 19, 2011

Concert news: IDentity Festival, Tom Tom Club, Return to Forever

The traveling electronic music festival IDentity will stop at Jiffy Lube Live August 18, it was announced Wednesday.

The Virginia show, the festival's only regional show, will feature three stages. Kaskade, Rusko, Disco Biscuits, Chuckie, Booka Shade, Datsik will perform at Skullcandy.

Hercules and Love Affair, Holy Ghost!, Steve Aoki, DJ Shadow, the Crystal Method, and others will play the Dim Mak Stage. It's not clear if Hercules will play a live or a DJ set. 

Steve Lawler, White Shadow, LA Riots, and others will play at the third stage, Beatport. 

Tickets will go on sale Friday via Livenation.

Return to Forever, now featuring a new line-up of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White. Jean-Luc Ponty, and Frank Gambale, will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion August 9 with Zappa plays Zappa. Tickets, starting at $40, go on sale Friday at ticketfly.com

Tom Tom Club, which went on tour last year for the first time in a decade, is coming to Baltimore.

The 30-year-old duo will perform at Rams Head Live June 5 to promote new album "Genius of Love." Tickets are already on sale.

Continue reading "Concert news: IDentity Festival, Tom Tom Club, Return to Forever" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

May 18, 2011

Still want tickets for Grace Potter's Bonnaroo Buzz Tour show?

We're giving six tickets away, including four that include meet-and-greets with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

The giveaway is similar to what we did during Virgin Mobile FreeFest: go to Midnight Sun's Facebook page, press 'like,' and tell us on our wall the reason you and your friends should get these tickets.

We will pick the most creative answers by 4 p.m. today.

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:04 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

May 17, 2011

Maryland Jockey Club releases Preakness Infield map

preakness%20map.JPGThe Preakness InfieldFest schedule went up Monday, and today we have a map of Pimlico Race Track's layout during the event.

The layout this year is similar to last year's minus a few exceptions. 

The main stage will be located next to the Preakness Village, this time called the Corporate Village. 

But the space formerly occupied by the second stage will now be filled by a beer garden, with the second stage pushed near the Top of the Stretch and the first aid stations.

This year, there's also the addition of a "family zone," in keeping with the organizers' strategy of playing to both old and young

There are two Mug Club locations, and bar and food stands. 

The full map is below: 

Continue reading "Maryland Jockey Club releases Preakness Infield map" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News, News
        

Giveaway: Six tickets to Grace Potter show at Rams Head Live, including two with meet-and-greets

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals perform Wednesday at Rams Head Live and we've got three pairs of tickets to give away, including two that include a meet and greet with the band.

The show is part of the Bonnaroo Buzz Tour, which takes some of the bands on this year's line-up on the road to promote the June 9-12 festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

The giveaway is similar to what we did during Virgin Mobile FreeFest: go on Midnight Sun's Facebook page, press 'like,' and tell us on our wall the reason you and your friends should get these tickets.

By 4 p.m. tomorrow we will pick the most creative answers. 

Only those with full names may be considered, and if selected, you must be able to provide a phone number for confirmation.   

You may enter as many times as you like.

The tickets, which come from Stubhub, the buzz tour's sponsor, may not be resold or exchanged. 

Doors for the Potter show are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

Bonnaroo is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Eminem, Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Lil Wayne and others are headlining.

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog 

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:29 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Music News
        

May 13, 2011

Baltimore summer concert preview: U2, Phish, R. Kelly, Britney, Starscape and 20 other sure bets

PX00089_9.JPGThe summer concert season is fully underway. The Stone Temple Pilots kicked it off into full gear with their Pier Six show on April 26. Two days later, rapper Wiz Khalifa took the stage. At 1st Mariner Arena that week, Rush performed.

And on the Sunday of that same week, a who’s who of young acts - the Strokes, Ra Ra Riot, Girl Talk, a scorching Lupe Fiasco - performed at the second-ever Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The knee-jerk complaint that touring musicians skip Baltimore every year is a thing of the past, it seems. If anything, the only complaint this year might be that there’s too many criminally difficult choices to make. How else to describe having to pick between Rihanna and the Starscape Music Festival, both scheduled for the same day in June? Or having to pick between Jason Aldean and going to the Preakness InField, which seems practically made for him?

At least some shows had the good sense to squeeze two major acts into one night. In fact, double-billed tours are a mini-trend this summer: Rihanna and Cee Lo Green; Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj; Kesha and Baltimore’s own Spank Rock.

Even if you get to miss some shows because of the overwhelming array of options, at least you’ll get your money’s worth with our top 25 picks for the summer.

Continue reading "Baltimore summer concert preview: U2, Phish, R. Kelly, Britney, Starscape and 20 other sure bets" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

May 6, 2011

Yo Gotti to return to the Velvet Rope/Dubai

On May 28, Yo Gotti will return to the Velvet Rope, where a concert of his last year was overbooked and caused a riot by some 300 angry ticket-holders.

The Velvet Rope, now renamed Dubai, pleaded guilty to security breaches at the time and was fined $3,500 by the Baltimore Liquor Board.

Baltimore Police, which responded to the riot with some 50 police officers, publicly asked the club to be shut down.

But the club was able to stay in business by striking a deal with police that involved increased security.

The Velvet Rope's attorney, Paul Gardner, said then the club had lost business since the incident.

In January, the club re-opened under a new name: Dubai, which was reviewed in February. 

The club has booked several concerts by major headliners since then, including the May 28 show by Yo Gotti that will feature Teflon Dons performing alongside the Southern Rapper.

On June 11, Young Jeezy will perform there.

The historic building that houses Dubai, 200 Redwood St., went up for auction this week, with a starting bid of $1.2 million. 

But Tracye Stafford, one of Dubai's owners, said that the auction will not affect the club as it has a one-year lease.

Redwood's auction ended Thursday, but real estate agent Leo McDemortt said bids are still being reviewed. He would not disclose the high bid's amount.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:28 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

Deftones will play Baltimore, spokesman says; Steve Ignorant show cancelled

Deftones will perform in Baltimore after all, spokesman Rick Gershon said.

But the band's management has not yet settled on a new location for the pair of shows they were scheduled to play at Sonar May 16 and 17.

Like several other acts, the Deftones were left stranded Wednesday when Sonar unexpectedly shut down. The band's two nights at the venue had been sold out, though it's not clear how many tickets were sold. 

Since the Wednesday announcement, Sonar staff have been successful at relocating some shows, but scores of others are still in limbo.

The Deftones, which won a Grammy award in 2001, were one of them. Gershon said Thursday that the band will still play Baltimore, but that it's uncertain yet where they will be moved to.The two-night residency could prove to be a complication.

Already, Bourbon Street has taken up at least three of Sonar's shows, including Talib Kweli, Vains of Janna and The New Deal.

The Maryland Deathfest might also move there, but a deal has not been announced yet. 

On Twitter, Sonar staff said that a May 22 show by the band Terror has been moved to  Sinix, in Essex.

Steve Ignorant, lead singer of the punk band Crass, announced the cancellation of his May 7 show via a press release. The show will be moved to Scranton, PA, but he said it's not clear if those who can't make it will be refunded.

Continue reading "Deftones will play Baltimore, spokesman says; Steve Ignorant show cancelled" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:52 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Music News
        

May 5, 2011

Maryland Deathfest likely to move to Bourbon Street, source says; Deftones status unclear

The Maryland Deathfest is likely to be moved to Bourbon Street Ballroom downtown, a source said.

The heavy-metal festival, which has been held at Sonar for the past six years, was forced to move locations after Sonar abruptly shut down on Wednesday, leaving thousands of fans wondering what would happen to their tickets.

Tickets for the four-day, festival, which begins May 26, start at $40 for daily passes and $132 for the weekend passes.

About 2,000 people had bought tickets already, said Ryan Taylor, a promoter with the festival.

Sonar closed Wednesday afternoon over a business disagreement between McIntosh, his partners and the club’s founder Lonnie Fisher, who is now the executive director of the Baltimore Grand Prix. Its liquor license also expired May 1.

The shutdown left stranded at least 40 shows scheduled through September at the venue, including four, like Maryland Deathfest's first night, that had sold-out.

Deathfest's organizers found out about the club's closing at the same time as everyone else.

"We had no fair warning to prepare," Taylor said. He said organizers had to rush to come up with a back-up plan in the last 24 hours.

"It's a huge headache," he said. 

Bourbon Street looked like the most promising venue to take up the festival because of its size. Taylor said organizers would meet with representatives from the club Thursday night, and that while a deal was likely, it had not been finalized. Dave Adams, Bourbon Street's manager could not be reached for comment.

Friday update: "It appears likely it will move" to Bourbon Street, club manager Dave Adams said. The club is able to take in the four-day festival, but it's up to festival organizers to make the final decision. Adams said the organizers would likely send out a confirmation press release at some point Friday.

Kevin Hock, a Bourbon Street promoter, wasn't aware of conversations, but he said it's likely because the reshuffling of shows has happened at a dizzying speed over the last day.

In the aftermath's of Sonar's shutdown, Bourbon Street has already taken up three shows from there, Hock said. The shows are Talib Kweli, who was scheduled for Wednesday; TheNEWDEAL on Friday; and Vains of Jenna on June 3.

Continue reading "Maryland Deathfest likely to move to Bourbon Street, source says; Deftones status unclear" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:19 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

Jason Aldean on meeting Kelly Clarkson and his next single

Jason Aldean performs at Jiffy Lube Live in a couple of weeks on the same day as Preakness, a day where everyone will drink lots of beer and get very muddy, surely something Aldean would appreciate.

In an interview to preview that show, he talked about how the song "Don't You Wanna Stay" with Kelly Clarkson came about and what his next single on fourth album "My Kinda Party" would be.

He said he was originally going to record the song by himself. But the more he listened to it, he thought it would play better as a duet.

"They asked who it would be, and I said, 'Someone like Kelly Clarkson would be cool.' I didn't know if we would get her, but phone calls were made and next thing I knew she was in the studio with us. I'd never met Kelly until then."

After the two performed it on 'American Idol," the song, the album's second single, went to the top of the country charts.

Aldean's cover of Colt Ford's "Dirt Road Anthem,"  was chosen as the album's third single, and is currently at No. 50 in the Billboard 100 chart, just a rung below the Clarkson duet, which has been on the chart for 26 weeks. 

He said the album's next single hasn't been chosen.  He has to wait and see how "Anthem" performs.

But, he said that if it were up to him, he would pick another ballad, the 13th track on the new album, "See You When I See You."

He also said the fourth single is a foregone conclusion, but that there's also the possibility of a fifth single.

Continue reading "Jason Aldean on meeting Kelly Clarkson and his next single" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:54 PM | | Comments (2)
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May 4, 2011

Sweetlife Festival video: Ra Ra Riot on touring, mainstream festivals, and carbon foot prints

 
Ra Ra Riot, who we interviewed in March before their performance at Rams Head Live, answered some questions from Sun videographer Hyun Chung after they performed Sunday at the Sweetlife Festival. A schedule of performances is here. A review of Sweetlife is here.
Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
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Sweetlife Festival video: Theophilus London on his performance, his new album, and hats


Sun videographer Hyun Chung interviewed Theophilus London Sunday at the Sweetlife Festival, where the rapper was fourth on the line-up. A schedule of performances is here. A review of Sweetlife is here
Posted by Erik Maza at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
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Sweetlife Festival video: U.S. Royalty on kicking-off Sweetlife, their career, and their fans

 
Sun videographer Hyun Chung interviewed U.S. Royalty Sunday at the Sweetlife Festival, where the D.C. band was the second to perform. A schedule of performances is here. A review of Sweetlife is here.
Posted by Erik Maza at 9:22 AM | | Comments (0)
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April 28, 2011

Sweetlife Festival schedule released; Lupe Fiasco, Girl Talk, The Strokes last to play Sunday night

The Strokes, Girl Talk, and Lupe Fiasco will be the last three acts to perform at the second ever Sweetlife Music Festival.

The one-day festival, which takes place Sunday at Merriweather Post Pavilion, posted its official schedule today.

Modern Man will kick off the festival at 12:50 p.m., followed by D.C's U.S. Royalty. The Strokes, the main headliners, will be last band to take the stage at 8:45 p.m.

Sweetlife schedule:

12:50 – 1:10 pm Modern Man

1:15 – 1:35 pm US Royalty

1:40 – 2:00 pm Walk the Moon

2:15 – 2:45 pm Theophilus London

3:00 – 3:30 pm Ra Ra Riot

3:45 – 4:25 pm Cold War Kids

4:40 – 5:30 pm Crystal Castles

5:50 – 6:50 pm Lupe Fiasco

7:15 – 8:15 pm Girl Talk

8:45 – 10 pm The Strokes

Continue reading "Sweetlife Festival schedule released; Lupe Fiasco, Girl Talk, The Strokes last to play Sunday night" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:38 AM | | Comments (1)
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April 26, 2011

Lollapalooza line-up announced; Wye Oak, J. Roddy Walston, Eminem to perform

The Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago announced its full line-up today. Baltimore's J. Roddy Walston and the Business and Wye Oak are among the bands that will perform. Wye Oak's last local show was just a couple of weekends ago; a story on that show and "Civilian" is here.

Other headliners at the festival have performed in the Baltimore region recently, or will in the near future. Among the bands that have been here in the past couple of months are The Mountain Goats, Titus Andronicus, and Girl Talk. You might have read about the Joy Formidable in our Coachella post-mortem. Also in the line-up is Sleigh Bells, which plays the 9:30 club May 7 and the Naked and the Famous, which will perform at the Ottobar that same day.

The main headliners at the three-day, now 20-year-old festival are Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Deadmau5, and others. Lollapalooza begins August 5 at Chicago's Grant Park. Tickets are on sale now at its website.

Continue reading "Lollapalooza line-up announced; Wye Oak, J. Roddy Walston, Eminem to perform" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:38 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

April 25, 2011

Update: Kings of Leon to perform at Jiffy Lube Live; Gang Gang Dance to play Ottobar

Kings of Leon will perform at Jiffy Lube Live August 9, it was announced today. The show is part of the band's new 30-city tour, its first since the release of its fifth album "Come Around Sundown." The band has been on the festival circuit for the first half of the year; it just returned from Coachella. And will be playing at other international festivals, like Isle of Wight, until the tour kicks off in Alabama in late July.

Upstarts Band of Horses will open at Jiffy Lube. Tickets for show, which start at $36.50 for the lawn, go on sale Friday on Ticketmaster.

Update: Gang Gang Dance, the experimental New York band whose Liz Bougatsos is one of the best front-women around, will perform two shows in the region. The band will be at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington July 18 and at the Ottobar July 19. Ticket information is not available yet.

Update 2: Junior Boys announced Tuesday a tour that will stop in Washington this summer. The Canadian synthpop duo, on the road to promote new album "It's all True," will perform at the Black Cat June 16, the same day Sade will kick-off her first tour in a decade at Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena. (via)

Continue reading "Update: Kings of Leon to perform at Jiffy Lube Live; Gang Gang Dance to play Ottobar" »

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April 21, 2011

Coachella 2011: Mumford & Sons, Titus Andronicus, Warpaint, and more

joy%20formidable.jpgContributor Mike Duffy was at Coachella this year, and sent along this belated dispatch. 

Ten days before Coachella, I got a random call from a friend out West.

“I have an idea…” she said. She needed help covering the music festival for Fender magazine, and wanted me for the gig. 

I accepted immediately, dropped everything and booked my flight to the desert. I mean, it'd been a goal of mine for years to go to Indio, California, get heatstroke and watch as many bands as I humanly could in the span of a weekend.

Armed with a photo credential, VIP wristband, camera and iPad, I spent three days running all over the Empire Polo Grounds and checking off bands my enormous wish list.

After three days in the desert, here are the lucky seven that made the biggest impression:

Warpaint: The Los Angeles-based quartet features four rocking girls who weave experimental art rock with a darkly, psychedelic bent.  I was really blown away by drummer Stella Mozgawa, who pounds the skins with a Bonham-like ferocity.  It’s that beat that provides a foundation for Warpaint’s spacey sound, something that's furthered by Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman’s ethereal lyrics.  Listen to: Elephant

Titus Andronicus: Hailing from New Jersey, Titus Andronicus tells stories in its songs, but they don’t sound like The Boss.  T.A. is honest indie punk that had people watching crowd surfing on the very first song they played.  Led by the healthily-bearded Patrick Stickles, Titus’s rallying cry is making it in a working-class city hit hard by the economy.  Oh, and it’s not odd to hear a Titus song devolve into an Irish jig.  Listen to: A More Perfect Union." [ed. The Baltimore Sun story on Stickles and Titus is here.]

Continue reading "Coachella 2011: Mumford & Sons, Titus Andronicus, Warpaint, and more" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:54 AM | | Comments (9)
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April 18, 2011

Update: Concert news: Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Wiz Khalifa, Animal Collective

Baltimoreans will have no shortage of opportunities to see Wiz Khalifa in town this year.

There was the Pier Six Pavilion show April 28, and now there's a second at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The rapper will perform there July 24. Tickets, starting at $45, go on sale, when else, April 20 on Ticketfly.

Today, it was announced that Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow would tour together. Their "Born Free" tour will hit Jiffy Lube Live August 22.

Tickets, starting at $31.50, go on sale Friday. 

The Transmodern Festival, which kicks-off next Thursday at several locations in the city, has updated its schedule. 

Among the additions, Celebration will perform Saturday at the Floristree. Tickets for that day start at $12. More information here.

Update: Animal Collective will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion July 9. Tickets go on sale Friday on Ticketfly.

I was checking MPP's website this morning for this post and saw the show on the schedule and guessed I must have missed a press release last week. D'oh! Go figure.

Anyway, it'll be the first time they play from "Merriweather Post Pavilion" at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:03 PM | | Comments (0)
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April 13, 2011

Concert news: Height, Good Charlotte, Odd Future

Height-420.jpgHeight will performing a homecoming show at the Hexagon on April 20.

The rapper's been on a long, 25-city tour for the past three months.

The auspiciously-timed show will be his last for a while, as he's leaving on an European tour shortly after.

He will be joined by Soul Cannon, Minor Second, G-Easy, and likely, Mickey Free and Emily Slaughter, who are regular members of the Height and Friends ensemble.  Height was profiled in February.

Another Maryland band announced a homecoming show of sorts Tuesday.

Waldorf's Good Charlotte will include Baltimore on their upcoming tour, which kicks off in late May in New Jersey.

They perform at Rams Head Live June 20. It hasn't been announced yet when tickets will go on sale.

Also coming soon to Rams Head: Scissor Sisters, who canceled their March show at the 9:30 club in DC, will play the venue June 9. And Matt & Kim, who played Rams Head just last year, will perform there again June 1. Tickets for both are already for sale at the venue's website.

Odd Future, the latest uber-hyped Tumblr group, will play Sonar May 19. No word yet when The Weeknd will start touring. Tickets, at $15, for the Sonar show are already on sale at the venue's website.

Continue reading "Concert news: Height, Good Charlotte, Odd Future" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

April 11, 2011

Toni Braxton's decade-long record sales slump

Toni Braxton is hoping to reverse a decade-long record sales slide with a new reality show, her third, called "Braxton Family Values." 

A story in today's paper looks at Braxton's career and why she ended up on a reality TV show on We TV, the network responsible for "Bridezillas" and "Joan Knows Best?"

It's a long way from the singer's stratospheric success in the 90s, but it was, in many ways, an inevitable fall. 

Braxton's "Secrets" has sold a career high of 5.4 million copies since its release in 1996, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified it eight times platinum.

It's the kind of blockbuster that made her an international name but also one that set an absurdly high benchmark to overcome. 

All of her other albums - including her self-titled debut, which has also been certified several times platinum by the RIAA - have had fewer listeners.

In fact, since the 2000s, Braxton, who became synonymous with 90s pop, has been shedding listeners by the millions, so that now she's played mostly in oldies stations like Baltimore's Magic 95.9, where she's one of its core artists.

"Toni's no longer hip," says Tim Watts, a DJ at the station. "She's basically an adult contemporary artist now. The 35 to 50 bracket is now where her audience is." At a station where Luther Vandross (dead) and Anita Baker (53) are the No. 1 and No. 2 most-played artists, the 43-year-old Severn native is in the top ten, Watts says.

Continue reading "Toni Braxton's decade-long record sales slump" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:33 PM | | Comments (3)
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April 7, 2011

Mumford & Sons, Miranda Lambert to play Merriweather Post Pavilion

Well, it's not Virgin Mobile FreeFest, or not yet anyway. But Mumford & Sons will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer.

Promoter IMP announced Wednesday the band will perform there June 9. It seems like it's the band's first performance in Maryland. They performed at the 9:30 club last year.

The band was nominated for Grammy awards earlier this year, but lost to Esperanza Spalding and Neil Young. 

IMP also announced Miranda Lambert will perform at MPP July 15. Tickets for both shows, which start at $45 and $55, respectively, go on sale Friday on Ticketfly. 

The line-up for Virgin Mobile FreeFest won't be announced until this summer. Let the lobbying begin.

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:45 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Music News
        

April 4, 2011

Hear the Orioles' 2011 entrance songs: Van Halen, T.I., Scandinavian house

All ball players have entrance songs.

Mark McGwire had "Welcome to the Jungle," Chipper Jones famously uses "Crazy Train" and Mariano Rivera still enters Yankee Stadium to Metallica's "Enter Sandman."

When the Orioles face the Detroit Tigers today, they will be introduced to fans at Oriole Park to a soundtrack of hip hop, country, even Scandinavian house.

A story in today's paper looks at the tradition of entrance songs, and why the Orioles' choices this year suggest they're in a fighting mood.

Below, hear the entrance tracks of Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Jason Berken, Vladimir Guerrero, and others chose this year and last.

Continue reading "Hear the Orioles' 2011 entrance songs: Van Halen, T.I., Scandinavian house " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:26 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Music News
        

April 2, 2011

Sara Bareilles on beating Eminem, "Love Song" and her new album "Kaleidoscope Heart"

After she finished her first album, Sara Bareilles felt the pressure of success. After all, right off the bat, she had a song, "Love Song" that was everywhere in 2007 and was eventually certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

How to top that? Her follow-ups were uninspired.

"I was just writing sh*** songs that didn't mean anything; I felt no connection to them whatsoever," she said.

A friend suggested she try chronicling what was happening to her. Out of that frustration with her songwriting came "Uncharted," and it led her in the right direction.

"'Uncharted' was the song that really helped me feel connected to my writing process," she said. "I thought I was going to have to do a mishmash of old songs [for the second album] because of the writer's block, but once the wheels were turning, I was drawn to the new material."

That quote comes from a story in Friday's paper that previews Bareilles' sold-out show at Rams Head Live Sunday.

The full story is here

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:00 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Live!, Music News
        

March 24, 2011

Concert News: Lupe Fiasco, Death Cab for Cutie, Social Distortion

Lupe Fiasco is coming back to Baltimore, for a meet-and-greet anyway.

Fiasco, who's out with a new album, "Lasers," he's more or less disowned as being the work of corporate lackeys,  was scheduled to appear at Sound Garden earlier this month.

But he canceled there and at South by Southwest at the last minute citing illness. 

He's now rescheduled to appear at the store March 29 for a meet-and-greet, autograph and CD signing, and perhaps, to keep dissing the new album. First come, first serve, but a "Lasers" purchase gets you a bracelet ahead of time

In local hip hop, The Black Hole in Dundalk will host what they're calling the second 'Best in Baltimore' showcase this Friday featuring mostly up-and-comers, Michael Wayne, Lano of Bombsquad, Warzone, among others. Tickets, at $10, are sold at the door.

Also tonight, the IFC channel will film a semi-secret show of Baltimore musicians, including Dan Deacon, at the Bell Foundry in Greenmount West. The show will be part of an upcoming show about Baltimore, IFC says. More on that tomorrow.

On Friday, the always excellent Ultra Nate celebrates her birthday at U Street Music Hall in Washington. Cover is $10. 

Also in Washington, the 9:30 club announced Death Cab will perform June 3. It's the band's seventh (!!) studio album. Tickets, at $35, go on sale Saturday.

Continue reading "Concert News: Lupe Fiasco, Death Cab for Cutie, Social Distortion" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:12 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

March 23, 2011

Can Elton John still deliver the kind of spectacles he used to?

Elton John will perform at 1st Mariner Arena this Saturday. It'll be 40 years after he first performed in the city, at the Mill Run Theatre, on his first American tour.

Since then, he's performed scores of times in the area, most recently two years ago in Washington with Billy Joel. But the last time he played Baltimore proper was in 1999.

On tour lately he's been performing his greatest hits, but also selections from his excellent collaboration with Leon Russell, "The Union."

The album, a mix of boogie-woogie flourishes, blues, and classic rock, finds Elton showing off the kind of swagger he hasn't in years.

In songs like "Hey Ahab" his writing is playful and clever, and his performance is as euphoric as the Elton of old. Elton and Leon, by the way, will perform together on Saturday Night Live later this year. Fingers already crossed for an Elton-Stefon pairing.

"The Union," which includes vocal cameos by contemporaries like Neil Young and Brian Wilson, was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year, but lost to, ugh, another Herbie Hancock record.

Still, those who've seen Elton in concert say anyway that's where he's in his element, donning the kind of get-ups that would make Kylie Minogue blanch. While reporting a story about 1st Mariner Arena's 50th anniversary, Chris Kaltenbach talked to Pat O'Malley, a former sports reporter for the Sun, who recalled seeing the singer in the early 70s.

"He started yelling back at security,” O’Malley said. “He told security to get out of the way, and they did. The next thing you know, he did ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,’ and there were a couple hundred fans up on the stage…It was wild — really wild.”

Can Elton still deliver those kinds of spectacles? When was the first time you saw him in concert and what was the experience like? Will he change the lyrics to "Candle in the Wind" again to honor Liz Taylor?

Update: A slightly longer preview of the show and review of "The Union" is here.

Photo: Elton John and Billy Joel performing in Washington in 2009 

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:07 PM | | Comments (4)
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March 21, 2011

Review: Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Travis Barker at 1st Mariner Arena March 20

PX00213_9.JPGContributor Jay Trucker reviews Lil Wayne and friends, who performed on the third stop of the rapper's "I Am Still Music" tour at 1st Mariner Arena Sunday.

There were hip hop heads, multicolor-haired teen girls, a smattering of middle-aged folks, awkwardly bobbing along, and at least one young girl with “I <3 Lil Wayne” painted on her face.

Yes, the crowd at Lil Wayne's concert at 1st Mariner Arena Sunday was as diverse as the show's line-up.

During the four-hour, sold-out concert, Wayne delivered to all demographics with his trademark spitfire rapping and a rotating series of guests that included not just the announced headliners - Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Travis Barker - but also new protege Porcelain Black, Mix Master Mike, Lil Twist, and Wale.

Unannounced opener Porcelain Black took the stage at roughly 7 p.m., playing a short set to a mostly empty arena. Known also as Alaina Beaton, Porcelain is Wayne's newest discovery. She is equal parts Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga, and finished her set with a single that proudly declares, “This is What Rock n Roll Looks Like." I respectfully disagree. 

Continue reading "Review: Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Travis Barker at 1st Mariner Arena March 20" »

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Categories: Concert reviews, Music News
        

March 18, 2011

Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj bring double the star power with Baltimore show

Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj didn't give any interviews to the paper, but to preview their show Sunday at 1st Mariner Arena, I talked to 92Q's music director, Vernon Kelson; R&B singer Paula Campbell, and a fan of Lil Wayne's who first saw the rapper two years ago at the first "I Am Music" tour.

Derek Davis, a 31-year-old customer service rep who lives in Baltimore, won't be getting into the concert with a free guest pass, like Campbell will. 

He doesn't even care much for Minaj or Rick Ross, who's also performing Sunday. No, when he paid $75 for the nosebleed seats, he did it for Wayne. 

When Davis saw the rapper two years ago, "The minute he stepped on stage, he had the crowd at his command,"he recalled. 

He's going back Sunday because, "I just want to see if after all this time he was locked up, he still has that same command of the crowd."

The rest of this story is here

Campbell and Kelson both say this is the biggest hip-hop show to play Baltimore in some time. 

Campbell says that, for the last time there was this much star power on stage, she would have to go back to the start of the decade, when Eminem, Dre, and the recently deceased Nate Dogg played the Baltimore Arena.

Agree?

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:03 PM | | Comments (5)
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March 17, 2011

Stone Temple Pilots, Wiz Khalifa to perform at Pier Six Pavilion

Pier Six Pavilion is quickly filling out its concert calendar, and with younger headliners. 

It was just a month ago that Peter Frampton became the venue's first announced performer of the season. 

But today it was announced that 90s holdovers Stone Temple Pilots would perform there April 26.

The band's tour is in support of their self-titled release from last year. Tickets, which start at $35, go on sale Friday at the venue's website. 

Two days after that show, Wiz Khalifa will take the stage. The rapper was last in Baltimore in December, when he sold out two nights at Rams Head Live. Tickets, at $30, are already on sale at Pier Six's website.

Pier Six made other announcements today, though they are mostly of the Great Performances variety: Spaniards the Gypsy Kings  will perform Aug. 21. Tickets, which start at $25, go on sale Friday. Bela Fleck and the original Flecktones, the Grammy-winning instrumental band, will perform July 7. Tickets also go on sale Friday.

In other old concert news, Jiffy Lube Live at Bristow announced last week that Jimmy Buffett would perform there Aug. 27. Buffett is on his "Welcome to Fin Land" tour.  Tickets, which start $50, go on sale Saturday.

Continue reading "Stone Temple Pilots, Wiz Khalifa to perform at Pier Six Pavilion" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:11 AM | | Comments (2)
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March 15, 2011

Sweetlife Festival line-up announced: Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles join the Strokes at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles and Washington DC's US Royalty are a few of the performers that will join the Strokes at the Sweetlife Festival in May, organizers announced today.

The festival takes place May 1 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, and boasts a line-up any festival, let alone one that's two-years-old would be proud of.

The other performers are Cold War Kids, Theophilus London, Walk the Moon, Modern Man, and Ra Ra Riot, who just performed at Rams Head Live. Their interview with Midnight Sun is here.   

The Strokes, who had been announced as the festival's headliners in late February, did not have any plans to play Maryland before Sweetlife. Same goes for Lupe Fiasco, who has just a couple of promotional appearances planned for new album "Lasers."

Girl Talk last played Baltimore in January.

Sweetlife was created last year by Sweetgreen, the salad and yogurt restaurant group. But it was an infinitely more low-key event.

Hot Chip was the main draw, and the one-day event took place at a tent at Dupont Circle.

This year's festival had been previously scheduled for April 30.  A pre-sale of tickets, which cost $55, starts tomorrow at the festival's website. The pre-sale code is "eatlocal."

A general admission sale begins Friday.

Continue reading "Sweetlife Festival line-up announced: Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles join the Strokes at Merriweather Post Pavilion" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:15 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

March 14, 2011

Bruno Mars, Train to headline Preakness InFieldFEST; Mug Club returns

PX00244_9.JPGSinger Bruno Mars and adult contemporary stalwarts Train will headline this year's Preakness InFieldFEST, the Maryland Jockey Club announced today.

The bill represents an extra shot of star power for the event, now in its third year. 

Headliners in the past included O.A.R., Zac Brown Band, ZZ Top and "Crazy Bitch" band Buckcherry.

Mars, on the other hand, won a Grammy earlier this year for best  male pop vocal performance.

He is currently on a Spring tour with singer Janelle Monae that was scheduled to skip Maryland.

Train, known for song "Drops of Jupiter," also won a Grammy earlier this year for best pop performance by a duo or group. 

The performers will take the main stage at the public Infield of Pimlico Race Course Saturday May 21

In addition, there will be a second stage that will feature band Puddle of Mudd, Phil Vassar and Mr. Greengenes, who are scheduled to make several St. Patrick's Day appearances locally. That stage will also host a bikini contest, the Jockey Club noted in its press release.

The festival is the Jockey Club's attempt to organize the infield experience, which before 2009 had a reputation for its rowdiness. In 2007, some attendees dashed across the tops of portable toilets while others pelted them with beer cans.

"The Running of the Urinals" has been saved for posterity on YouTube.

Continue reading "Bruno Mars, Train to headline Preakness InFieldFEST; Mug Club returns" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:15 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Music News, News
        

March 9, 2011

Pete Yorn on his new album, soul-crushing winters, and leaving law school behind

Pete Yorn performs at the 9:30 Club Monday and Rams Head Live Tuesday. Contributor Benjamin Opipari spoke with him about Syracuse, his failed plans for law school and his new, self-titled album.

I spent four years in upstate New York. The real upstate, near Syracuse, not the upstate that's 60 miles north of New York City. The winters are long, cold and soul-crushing. But ask Pete Yorn about his time as an undergrad at Syracuse University, and he'll tell you that if it weren't for all that snow, he might not have become a songwriter.

How did majoring in communication and rhetoric at Syracuse prepare you as a songwriter? I don't know that it affected my songwriting, at least consciously. If anything, I was taking that major - it was speech communications at the time - because I planned on going to law school and I thought it would be good preparation. I had to give a lot of speeches and address a lot of audiences. At the beginning, I was petrified of getting in front of a group, so it helped a lot in that respect. It was a good way to work through that.

Continue reading "Pete Yorn on his new album, soul-crushing winters, and leaving law school behind" »

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March 8, 2011

Concert News: Wye Oak, The Decemberists, Neil Young

Wye Oak is scheduled to make a number of area appearances this week. They're performing a promotional set tonight at the Sound Garden. And on Friday, they'll perform at the Black Cat.  If a cold hadn't intervened, Jenn Wasner was even scheduled to appear at Monday night's Titus Andronicus show to duet with Patrick Stickles on "To Old Friends and New."

But until last week, it looked like Wasner and Andy Stack didn't have any proper shows scheduled for Baltimore.

Then on Friday the announcement came: they will perform April 16 at 2640. Tickets, at $12, are on sale now at Missiontix and Red Emma's Cafe.

NPR, by the way, is streaming their new album, "Civilian,"  in its entirety.

In other concert news, Merriweather Post Pavilion keeps filling up its calendar.

The Decemberists, out now with "The King is Dead," will play there June 13. Tickets, starting at $30, go on sale Friday at Ticketfly. 

The great Aimee Mann, whose twitter you should really be following, will perform at the Recher Theater April 10. Tickets, which start at $27.50, are on sale now at Missiontix.

Two legendary musicians will play the region this Spring.

Continue reading "Concert News: Wye Oak, The Decemberists, Neil Young" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

February 28, 2011

The Strokes to headline yogurt restaurant's music festival at Merriweather

The Strokes will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer.

They will be the headliners at Sweetlife, the second music festival by salad and yogurt restaurant Sweetgreen. So far, the band, which will release their new album in late March, are the only announced performers. Organizers say the full line-up and ticket information will be announced soon.

The festival takes place April 30.

Meanwhile, Western Connecticut State University announced that Weezer and Snoop Dogg will headline their annual B.O.M.B. Fest, which runs May 28 - 29. Wiz Khalifa, Against Me! and Titus Andronicus, who will appear at Rams Head Live March 7, will also perform.

Tickets for that festival go on sale at its website Friday.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

February 24, 2011

Pier Six's first show announcement of the year is Peter Frampton

Peter Frampton will perform at Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion this summer, it was announced today.

The show, on July 17, is the venue's first major engagement of the season. A concert by an Abba tribute band had been previously announced for May.

Frampton will perform his entire "Frampton Comes Alive" album, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Tickets, at $25-$75, go on sale Friday. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:29 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Music News
        

February 22, 2011

Phish to play Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer

Phish is going on the road again this summer.

The tour, which kicks off  Memorial Day, will include two stops at Merriweather Post Pavilion, June 11 and June 12. Tickets will go on sale on the band's website on March 11.

The band has performed in Maryland for the last two summers. Here is a review of that the last show.

In other concert news: West Virginia's All Good Festival announced its line-up today, and it includes veterans Further and Primus as well as Australia's version of Dave Matthews, the John Butler Trio, among others.

The festival, billed "the Mid-Atlantic's most diverse camp-out music festival," takes place July 14-17. Tickets are available on its website.

Parts & Labor, the Brooklyn noise trio, also announced a new Spring tour. They will perform at Golden West April 29.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:47 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Music News
        

February 21, 2011

Update: TV on the Radio to play Rams Head Live in April

TV on the Radio took a year-long break in late 2009 - Tunde Adebimpe wanted "to a live life," apparently. But they're coming back this Spring with new album "Nine Types of Light." Today, Rams Head Live announced the band will perform here Sunday April 10, three days before a major show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Presumably, the band is going on a major tour to accompany the album, though those dates haven't been announced yet.

The last time they played in the area was in 2008 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, on a bill that included Seu Jorge and Thievery Corporation.

Tickets, at $31, go on sale Thursday.

In related concert news of interest to a completely different camp, the Cabaret at Germano's said last week 1960s singer/songwriter Jimmy Webb ("Wichita Lineman") will perform in Little Italy that same night, April 10. For the rare fan of both acts, Webb will perform the following night as well. Tickets are $45.

Update: Randy Newman will perform in Bethesda March 2, the Music Center at Strathmore announced Tuesday. Tickets start at $25. Newman is up for an Oscar again this year for writing and singing the theme song to "Toy Story 3."

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:50 PM | | Comments (0)
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February 18, 2011

Plain White T's on cheesy lyrics, Cirque du Soleil, and "the Goonies".

Plain White T's, responsible for "Hey There Delilah," that song that was stuck in your head for two weeks in 2007, are back with with a new album, "The Wonders of the Younger."

Fans of the old material will find plenty to like here. Despite the unfortunately alliterative album title, lead single "Rhythm of Love" is a pretty, hazy ballad that goes for sentiment not usually found outside of Hallmark cards.

“My heart beats like a drum,” guitarist Tim Lopez croons to a girl who has “blue eyes deep like the sea.”

In today's paper, singer Tom Higgenson defends the bands' lyrics, Cirque du Soleil, and "The Goonies."

The rest of the preview is here.  

The "Rhythm of Love" video is below:

Continue reading "Plain White T's on cheesy lyrics, Cirque du Soleil, and "the Goonies". " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:12 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Live!, Music News
        

February 16, 2011

Concert news: Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Wye Oak, Lower Dens

Take our your ratty agenda books, here's some just-announced shows:

Wye Oak, on tour with new album "Civilian," will play a mini-set at Sound Garden on March 8. 

The band had previously announced a full set at Washington's Black Cat with Lower Dens.

That foursome - who just released a seven-inch, "Batman/Dear Pretty Baby" (hear it here) - also announced a show of their own. They will perform at the Ottobar on March 6. 

Wye Oak tickets are $12, and Lower Dens are $8. Both are on sale now. 

In other concert news, Rihanna announced today that Cee Lo Green would open for her on the Loud tour, including the 1st Mariner show on June 4. Those tickets start at $69.75.

And Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae, fresh off their performance at the Grammys - the one segment I actually saw - announced a joint tour, to be called Hooligans in Wondaland. No dates have been announced yet.

Below: Wye Oak performing at a recent show.  

Continue reading "Concert news: Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Wye Oak, Lower Dens" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

February 15, 2011

Bonnaroo 2011 includes Eminem, Arcade Fire, Lil Wayne and Girl Talk

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival announced this year's line-up today, and it includes some major headliners, some who will play Baltimore in the near future. Among them: Lil Wayne, who will perform at 1st Mariner Arena March 20; Robyn, who just performed here, and will open for Katy Perry at Merriweather on June 15; and indie-pop Brooklynite Twin Shadow, who will perform at the Ottobar February 24.

In addition: Eminem, Girl Talk, the rejuvenated Wanda Jackson, The Decemberists, the Strokes, and new Grammy winners Arcade Fire will perform.

The festival, now in its tenth year, takes place on a 700-acre farm farm in Manchester, Tennessee from June 9 to the 12. Tickets, which start at $224.50 for general admission, are already on sale on the festival's website.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:11 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Music News
        

February 14, 2011

Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Lady Arcade Fire win at Grammys; Baltimore bands react: meh

At the Grammys Sunday night, Maryland was largely ignored. Songwriter Makeba Riddick, who went in with excellent odds for producing Eminem's "Recovery," lost to Arcade Fire in the night's major upset, album of the year. 

And Lady Antebellum beat her in the record of the year category.

Baltimore's critically-loved indie bands had already been snubbed by the time the nominations were announced last month. And that suits them just fine.

"As far as I can tell, the people who nominate artists for Grammys are not the hippest people, and they probably aren't obsessive indie rock fans," said Todd Hyman, of DC's Carpark Records, which represents Dan Deacon and Lexie Mountain Boys. "I'm guessing that they haven't even heard of most bands from Baltimore."

For Sunday's paper, I wrote about the non-existing relationship local musicians have with the awards.

It's not that locals might be producing music too esoteric for the Recording Academy's populist taste  - this year, half the nominees were indies, according to industry group A2IM.  It's that local bands and their labels aren't pursuing them.   In fact, some of their labels didn't even submit them for consideration.

At a time of flat-lining record sales, they say that the role the Grammys used to play - to goose up sales and raise young bands' profiles - has now been taken up  by a number of other venues. Touring, for instance, is far more lucrative. And they can count on social media for exposure.   

Below, some of them comment on the awards in more length than I had space for in the print story. (Plus video from the show)

Continue reading "Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Lady Arcade Fire win at Grammys; Baltimore bands react: meh" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:02 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music, Music News, News
        

February 10, 2011

Martha Reeves on Cee Lo Green, Gladys Horton, and being one of the last Motown stars

Martha Reeves is one of the last survivors of the Motown era. In recent years, many of the legendary recording studio's original headliners have passed.

Only two of the original Temptations are still alive. All but a handful of the Funk Brothers, Motown's backing band, are gone. Jack Brokensha died in October.

And two weeks ago, Glady Horton, the original singer of the Marvelettes, died in a Sherman Oaks retirement home at 66.

I had Reeves on the phone when the news broke, and her Detroit home was being bombarded with phone calls from reporters for comment. Though she hadn't spoken with Horton in at least three decades, the death was a poignant one.

Without the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas would not have been. "They were our pioneers," she said. 

On Saturday, Reeves performs a sold-out show at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in honor of Valentine's Day. I previewed the show for Live. 

The rest of the story is here.

Below, Martha and the Vandellas performing "Dancing in the Street".

Continue reading "Martha Reeves on Cee Lo Green, Gladys Horton, and being one of the last Motown stars" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:03 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Live!, Music News
        

February 9, 2011

The Love Language's Stuart McLamb on Phoenix, The Fall, and living in Raleigh, North Carolina

Before performing at Metro Gallery tonight, singer and songwriter Stuart McLamb of the five-seven piece North Carolina band the Love Language spoke with contributor Benjamin Opipari.

Stuart McLamb called me from the back of a truck somewhere near his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. In one hand he had his cell phone, and with the other he was propping up a giant, used Lowrey organ he had just bought for $100.

He's used to multi-tasking. He made his first album entirely on his own - playing all the instruments, and acting as his own producer and engineer. Here he spoke about Phoenix, living in Raleigh, recording on vinyl, and writer's block.

Midnight Sun: You live in Raleigh, not exactly the center of indie music culture. What's living there like for a working musician? We’ve done so much touring, that for a while I was crashing on friend’s couches and in our rehearsal space. That enabled me to pursue music without having to worry about paying rent on a place I never see.  I am still floating around, really. Living in a bigger city has its perks, since you have so many influences and people.  The city has a workhorse mentality.  But for me, the cost of living is a big concern and I can afford not to work every day and just focus on the band.  There’s also a good group of artists in this area that keep me inspired.

MS: The Love Language tours incessantly. Are you able to get a lot of writing done on the road? Not really.  Just bits and pieces.  We bring a lot of ukuleles in the van and have some acoustic guitars. Sometimes we have jams that turn into songs, but that’s rare. To really sit down to write, I need some alone time and space to flesh something out.  There’s a lot of riffs and chord progression ideas that happen on tour, but for the most part I need to be alone.   

Continue reading "The Love Language's Stuart McLamb on Phoenix, The Fall, and living in Raleigh, North Carolina" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:36 AM | | Comments (0)
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February 7, 2011

Update: New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys to play Baltimore; plus touring news from Wye Oak, Klaxons, Sade

The local Spring concert calendar is suddenly filling up: New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, Wye Oak, Klaxons, Adele all announced local shows. Plus, Sade added a big name to her show at 1st Mariner Arena.

NKOTBSB - that's how the fans call them, on Twitter anyway - won't just play at Verizon Center, as they had announced months ago.

The mega boy bands will also perform at 1st Mariner Arena May 29. Tickets go on sale Friday on ticketmaster.com

Sade, who will open her first tour in decades in Baltimore, announced today John Legend, the pianist and singer, will open for her at all locations, including 1st Mariner on June 16.

Local duo Wye Oak is preparing for the release of their new album "Civilian" with an 18-city tour.

On March 11, they will perform with Lower Dens at the Black Cat in Washington. A local show will be announced soon.

Full tour dates below, plus news from the Klaxons and Adele:

Update: Just confirmed that Robyn will open for Katy Perry at Merriweather Post Pavilion June 15.  The announcement that the two would tour together was made last week, but the Columbia date hadn't been confirmed until today.

Continue reading "Update: New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys to play Baltimore; plus touring news from Wye Oak, Klaxons, Sade" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:58 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Music News
        

February 1, 2011

Robyn on Katy Perry, why dance music is punk, and her next album

Not many singers would be asked to perform on "Gossip Girl" and the Nobel Peace Prize concert. Robyn did both last year. She's serenading Serena and Blair one day in October, imprisoned Chinese political dissident Liu Xiaobo two months later. The set list didn't even need to change that much - "Dancing on my Own" made an appearance at both gigs. Robyn's specialty is making propulsive dance music that is also loaded with emotion, anthemic for dissidents and a pampered Waldorf. 

In the last year, with her "Body Talk" trilogy, she's experienced her greatest success here in the States. Tonight, she performs at Rams Head Live. In this longer Q&A, she talked about "Body Talk," why dance music is punk and her next album.

Midnight Sun: Releasing the album in three parts was an unconventional step, and a risky one financially since you run your label. Did you have concerns about it not working? I just released it that way because I thought it’d be an interesting way to work, to stay in the studio more; it was a more natural process of writing and producing. It became this huge thing. In all the interviews I was asked about it, and more and more it looked like something I planned or was smart about. I just wanted to try something new.

Continue reading "Robyn on Katy Perry, why dance music is punk, and her next album" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:02 PM | | Comments (1)
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Concert news: Boys II Men, Novo Festival, Whitesnake at Merriweather's heavy metal festival

amidang.JPGThe Novo Festival will return for a second time this March, it was announced Monday.

The festival, which focuses on instrumental music, will take place March 1 - 5 at Windup Space, and will feature, among other musicians, Baltimore's Big in Japan, and a side project of recently profiled upstarts Lands & Peoples.

Like last year, Mobtown Studios will also sponsor the festival and will record performances to be streamed online for free. 

Wednesday March 1, the first day of the festival, will be an anniversary party for the Out of Your Head collective, which performs Tuesday nights at Windup. The second night will feature Of the West, Deaf Scene and Star FK Radium.

On the third night, experimental pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn will perform, along with Decapitated Hed and drummer Chris Farmer. Baltimore's Big in Japan will kick off the Friday show, which will also feature Do you need the Service? and Caverns.

On Saturday, Lands & Peoples offshoot Dead Drums will perform, as well as Omoo Omoo and Teenage Souls. 

The festival started last year to showcase all kinds of voice-less music, including post rock and jazz, not just experimental. Sitar player Ami Dang (pictured), guitarist Dustin Wong and Microkingdom were among the performers in 2010. Some of the other performances can be heard here.

Five-day passes for the festival are $20 and sold at Windup. 

In other concert news, Bourbon Street and Merriweather Post Pavilion both announced new upcoming shows.

Continue reading "Concert news: Boys II Men, Novo Festival, Whitesnake at Merriweather's heavy metal festival" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
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January 31, 2011

John Waters introduces Nicki Minaj on Saturday Night Live digital short "The Creep"

John Waters appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend to introduce Andy Samberg's latest digital short. Samberg and the other two guys in "The Creep" video sported natty Waters-esque outfits: skinny suits, pencil-thin mustaches and "Revenge of the Nerds" glasses. Nicki Minaj made a guest appearance. The Sun's Mike Sragow got Waters to talk about the video.
Posted by Erik Maza at 1:08 PM | | Comments (1)
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January 27, 2011

Update: Taylor Swift to perform at Verizon Center in August; Trey Songz, Mountain Goats also announce shows

It's been a big week for concert announcements, with Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, and Elton John all announcing nearby dates.

Add another one to the list: Taylor Swift

She's kicking off a long international tour in February, in Singapore of all places. And will play Verizon Center August 2 and August 3.

In related touring news, Hunx and his Punx, the new punkish girl group from Gravy Train!!!!'s Seth Bogart will play Golden West Cafe April 19.

Update: Two more upcoming shows have been announced: The Mountain Goats and Trey Songz. Songz, who opened for Usher in December at 1st Mariner Arena, will headline his own show at DAR Constitution Hall on February 12.

And the beloved indie-rock band the Mountain Goats will perform at the Ottobar April 14.

Continue reading "Update: Taylor Swift to perform at Verizon Center in August; Trey Songz, Mountain Goats also announce shows" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:57 PM | | Comments (0)
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January 26, 2011

Q&A: Kevin Bacon and Michael Bacon of the Bacon Brothers on Fleetwood Mac, "El Blurto," and their 16th anniversary

Before their sold-out performances at Rams Head on Stage Friday and Saturday, the Bacon Brothers spoke with contributor Benjamin Opipari about Fleetwood Mac, writing without electricity, and how acting influences songwriting. "Footloose" was not mentioned once.

Kevin Bacon is most well known as an actor, and his brother Michael as a composer - he's scored twelve feature films and hundreds of hours of prime time television. But they are also respected songwriters who’ve toured the country for sixteen years and put out six albums as the Bacon Brothers, whose music was described by the New Yorker as “sharply executed rock that has a blue-collar, rootsy edge."

The brothers take their songwriting seriously. But their other careers do influence their creative process: songwriting for them does not exist in a vacuum.

Midnight Sun: How do you compose your lyrics: pen and paper, or computer?  Kevin: Pen and paper for me. I just don’t type very well.  If a lyric is coming, it’s got to get down, and it’s got to get down fast.  I need to be able to scratch it out or make easy changes.  It’s a big mess, which is how I like it. My handwriting is horrible, but there’s something, ironically, that looks too organized when lyrics are on computer.    

How disciplined are you as a writer?   Kevin: I ‘m not disciplined at all. I wait for the song to come to me.  Right now I’m experiencing writer’s block and it’s a weird feeling to just stare at my guitar.  I pick it up and play, but I end up playing someone else’s songs or one of our old songs.  I definitely do not have the discipline to say, “Every morning I’m going to spend two hours writing.”  

Michael: Since I’m a composer, my whole day is spent working with music.  Picking up a guitar and going into songwriting mode when I am done with that is kind of hard, but I find if I am away from my office or studio, I can be very productive. We have a camp up in the Adirondacks with no electricity, and I find that it’s one of the most fertile places for me as far as songwriting, because there isn’t much to do.  Kevin and I have written a lot of songs up there.

Continue reading "Q&A: Kevin Bacon and Michael Bacon of the Bacon Brothers on Fleetwood Mac, "El Blurto," and their 16th anniversary" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (6)
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January 25, 2011

Lauryn Hill to perform at Rams Head Live in February

PX00015_9.JPGHere's some big concert news for Baltimore: the reclusive Lauryn Hill will perform here in two weeks.

Hill has made few live appearances since the release of "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" over a decade ago.

But she recently launched what was billed as a mini-tour.

She performed in New York in late December, and was announced as one of the headliners at Coachella. 

Since then, the mini-tour has only added more and more dates.

Today it was confirmed she would also come to Rams Head Live on February 10.

Tickets officially go on sale Wednesday, but fans can start buying tickets now at tickets.ramsheadlive.com by using the password "MsHill2011."

Continue reading "Lauryn Hill to perform at Rams Head Live in February" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:45 PM | | Comments (3)
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January 20, 2011

Future Islands to play free show at the Patterson; Katy Perry, the Pretty Reckless, and the Foals also add local dates

Future Islands will perform a free show at the Patterson on February 26.

That free show will come before another one on March 5 at 2640, where they will perform with Celebration and Arbouretum. (Tickets for that show are on sale at Red Emma's and missiontix.com)

 The band is coming off a highly successful year where they played some 130 gigs, and sold over 3,000 copies of "In Evening Air."

At the Patterson, they will play a short acoustic set in the gallery and a standard set at the theater. 

In related touring news, Katy Perry becomes Merriweather Post Pavilion's second announced headliner this summer; Sugarland will perform in May.

The singer will stop by June 15 with her California Dreams tour, which is hysterically sponsored by Schick Quattro for Women. General tickets go on sale January 29.

Joan Jett manqué Taylor Momsen, also known for "Gossip Girl," will return to Baltimore on March 15 with her band the Pretty Reckless. They last played Bourbon Street in October.

On the punk side of things, the Brits the Foals also announced a new massive tour that includes Baltimore. They will perform at the Ottobar May 7.

Below, Future Islands tour dates: 

Continue reading "Future Islands to play free show at the Patterson; Katy Perry, the Pretty Reckless, and the Foals also add local dates" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:48 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Music News
        

January 19, 2011

Coachella line-up announced: Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, Animal Collective, among them

Coachella revealed the line-up for this year's festival Tuesday night. About the only acts with Maryland connections are Animal Collective and Rye Rye. But! some of the other bands will be passing through the area in the months before heading to Southern California in April, among them: Robyn (will perform at Rams Head Live on February 1), Twin Shadow (Feb. 24 at Ottobar and April 1 at the Black Cat), Titus Andronicus (March 7 at Rams Head Live, and March 8 & 9 at the 9:30 club), Chromeo (Feb 5 at the 9:30 club), and Jimmy Eat World (plays the 9:30 club Feb. 13) . Some of the other major names performing at Coachella: Kanye West, Arcade Fire, and, after a characteristically iconoclastic performance in New York, Lauryn Hill. The full line-up is here.
Posted by Erik Maza at 8:30 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Music News
        

January 17, 2011

Sugarland to play Merriweather Post Pavilion; Thank You also announce tour

Merriweather Post Pavilion's first concert of the year will be by Sugarland, the country music duo.

Sugarland will perform May 22. Tickets go on sale January 21.

The duo, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles, just won a shiny new Country Music Award last year. They are currently on a multi-city tour that is scheduled to end in August at the Iowa State Fair.

Merriweather is their only regional date so far. 

The show, the venue's first for 2011, was announced via Twitter Friday afternoon. Little Big Town and Matt Nathanson will also perform. 

In related touring news, Baltimore's Thank You also announced a tour last week. The post-punk band will released its third LP, "Golden Worry," January 25 via Thrill Jockey Records.

Below: Thank You's tour dates and a new video.

Continue reading "Sugarland to play Merriweather Post Pavilion; Thank You also announce tour" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:29 AM | | Comments (0)
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January 13, 2011

Ten ideas for winning the Justin Bieber singing competition

Justin Bieber's new movie won't be released for another month, but it's already getting a local promotional boost.

On Friday, Z104 and Paramount Pictures - the studio behind "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" - will hold a singing competition for 50 local teens between the ages of 13 and 17, it was just announced

Only the first 50 teens who register starting at 5 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe will get to perform before a three-member panel of judges.

Out of those 50, only one will get a chance to travel to Los Angeles for the movie's premiere, and meet Da Bieber himself. 

So kids, here's a bunch of half-baked ideas on how to distinguish yourself from all the other rugrats who love Justin Bieber:

1. Wear his fragrance. You have your pick of wristbands and dog collars.

2. Don't just sing, perform a re-enactment of Bieber's dramatic acting work on "CSI."

3. Be bold. Rap like Justin Bieber. 

4. Wear an adorable bowl haircut. That seemed to work for this guy. 

5. Don't cut your hair like him. No one likes an obsequious fan, but also: you might attract the cops

Continue reading "Ten ideas for winning the Justin Bieber singing competition" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:29 PM | | Comments (3)
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January 12, 2011

B-52s' Fred Schneider rules out "Funplex" follow-up; says they're primarily a touring band now

The B-52s were nearing the end of another one of their annual New Year's Eve shows when, right after "Roam," they were asked to stop for the countdown, champagne toasts, and balloons.

After midnight, it might have been 2011, but the band finished the night just like they would have 30 years ago, in typical garb — Schneider a gold jacket, the gals sparkly mini-dresses — and with a couple of classics, "Rock Lobster," and "Love Shack."

That they're still playing them is further proof that the Athens, Georgia veterans have yet to overstay their welcome, their music as defiantly optimistic as it when "Rock Lobster" first charted.

The new year finds them in the mode that may very well last the rest of their career: Out of the recording studio, touring tons, and playing sets that are split between "Funplex," their 2008 comeback, and material from before 1992, the last time they released new original material.

Singer Fred Schneider confirms a new live album might appear soon, but that there are too many obstacles to do a "Funplex" follow-up — age, the declining music industry — and that they prefer picking worthwhile gigs, like Baltimore's Rams Head Live last year.

Continue reading "B-52s' Fred Schneider rules out "Funplex" follow-up; says they're primarily a touring band now" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Live!, Music News
        

January 11, 2011

Kylie Minogue announces North American tour, plays Virginia two days after kickoff

Kylie Minogue will kick off her second North American tour ever on April 28.

Two days later, she will perform in Virginia at the GMU Patriot Center.

Minogue is touring to support her newest album, "Aphrodite," a hit internationally if less so stateside. She's a regular presence, though, on the Billboard dance and club charts. 

With 12 stops in the United States, this tour far exceeds Minogue's first tour, which went to just six cities. 

Full tour dates after the jump:

Continue reading "Kylie Minogue announces North American tour, plays Virginia two days after kickoff" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:58 AM | | Comments (0)
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January 10, 2011

Janet Jackson to perform in Washington D.C. in March; plus tour news from Of Montreal, Twin Shadow, the Go! Team

Janet Jackson will perform in Washington in March, it was just announced. 

The date is part of her Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour, her first since 2008. 

The tour finds Jackson performing from her newest greatest hits compilation CD, "Number Ones," and in smaller venues than before.

She will perform at DAR Constitution Hall on March 22. Tickets go on sale Friday.   

The complete list of tour dates are below. 

Of Montreal just announced today they will perform at Washington's 9:30 club on April 28. The Athens, Georgia psychedelic hucksters will embark on a full Spring tour later this month. Tickets have yet to go on sale.

Twin Shadow will also perform in the area soon, it was announced last week. 

The Florida-raised Brooklynite will bring his love of 80s new wave to the Ottobar on February 24 and Washington's Black Cat on April 1.

Tickets, at $10, are already on sale at missiontix.com. Full tour dates below also. 

The British sextet the Go! Team, whose "Rolling Blackouts" is maybe the first great album of 2011, will also swing by Washington in the Spring. The group will perform at the 9:30 club on April 13. Tickets are not on sale yet.

Continue reading "Janet Jackson to perform in Washington D.C. in March; plus tour news from Of Montreal, Twin Shadow, the Go! Team" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:52 PM | | Comments (17)
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January 5, 2011

Nation's mental institutions now filled with rappers

It's looks like it's not just Wale who's gone crazy recently. On Tuesday, an Atlanta judge sent Gucci Mane to a psychiatric institution after the rapper pleaded "mental incompetency" to charges that he'd violated the terms of his probation. And that same day, the rapper Charles Hamilton was also referred to a psychiatric clinic to see if he was mentally fit to stand trial over an assault charge. So, what is this fun new trend, some kind of defense tactic? "I don't have substance abuse issues judge; I'm just nuts." Clever. Two weeks ago, it was DMX who was committed. After serving a month in Joe Arpaio's Tent City jail, he was committed to the jail's mental-health unit for 30 days. A judge had previously said the rapper suffered from "bi-polar disorder or some sort of mental affliction." Well, that, I believe, because DMX really is basket case.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:30 PM | | Comments (1)
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Surfer Blood and Trail of Dead to play Ottobar in May

...And you will know us by the Trail of Dead announced they would tour with Surfer Blood this Spring, despite looking like they could break the baby-faced Florida rockers in half.

The veteran Austin rock band, known for their ferocious performances and on-stage fights, is fond of unlikely pairings.

A couple of years ago band members were praising art-rockers Dirty Projectors and Yeasayer.

The band has seven albums to newbie Surfer Blood's 2010 release, "Astro Coast." They're touring with a new one, out in February, called "Tao of the Dead."

The co-headlining show will be at the Ottobar May 11. The two bands are doing 13 shows together, including one in Washington D.C.

The Ottobar doesn't know yet when tickets will go on sale, says owner Craig Boarman.

The rest of the tour dates, and a Trail of Dead Video, after the jump.

Continue reading "Surfer Blood and Trail of Dead to play Ottobar in May" »

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January 3, 2011

New free music from M.I.A., Justin Timberlake, the Decemberists

It's a new year, so some music people figured you need new stuff to listen to. M.I.A., hoping to start 2011 on a promising note after a disappointing 2010, released a new free mixtape that includes tracks she'd quietly released online before, like "Steppin' Up" and the Blaqstarr-produced "Let Me Hump You." The 19 tracks can be downloaded here. Rick Ross has a new free mixtape himself; it is called "Ashes to Ashes." The Decemberists' new album, "The King is Dead," won't be released until mid-January, but NPR is streaming the whole thing gratis at its website. The Daily Swarm think it's spotted a leaked new track by Justin Timberlake. It is called "Take You Down" (Update: leak debunked; singer is actually a Rasmus Thude).  Lady Gaga has some new material out too; you'd think it was a song off her upcoming album judging from all the online hollering of her little monsters, but nope, turns out it's just a new picture of her butt, which most paparazzi can already draw from memory.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:13 PM | | Comments (0)
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December 29, 2010

Asia, Franken-band consisting of former members of the Buggles and Roxy Music, to play Annapolis in May

Asia, the band cobbled together from the leftovers of Roxy Music, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and the Buggles, will perform at Rams Head on Stage May 3, the venue announced this week.

Making up the band are guitarist Steve Howe, formerly of Yes; multi-instrumentalist John Wetton of Roxy Music; drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer; and keyboardist Geoff Downes, formerly of the Buggles, who collectively, are a who's who of progressive British rock. 

The original members formed  Asia in 1981 after those bands disbanded, broke up a few years later, and re-united in their original incarnation in 2006 for a 25th anniversary tour and greatest hits package.

They are now touring with a new album, "Omega." Tickets for the Rams Head show are $75 and are now on sale at the venue's website. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:50 PM | | Comments (2)
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December 28, 2010

Witch house begets slut-wave. Thank Katy Perry

Even before this year's fake music memes totally died, someone's gone ahead and anthologized a new one. Just as you were starting to read about witch-house and chill-wave, popular tumblr Hipster Runoff went ahead and coined the term slutwave earlier this year to describe the collective works of, ahem, sexually assertive singers Katy Perry, Kesha and Rihanna. Rolling Stone picked up on it and called it fake music genre of the year earlier this month. Well, this was inevitable. Now, something called Complex has made a  list of the 25 greatest slutwave songs ever. Not one to judge, I salute you traffic-baiting Complex bloggers. The list goes back as far as 1982, and, clocking in at number one? Kesha's "Blah Blah Blah." Indeed.

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:29 AM | | Comments (3)
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Liz Phair to perform at Rams Head Live in January

After performing in Washington D.C. earlier this month, it turns out Liz Phair will stop in Baltimore as well. 

She'll play Rams Head Live January 25, when Brooklyn four piece Harper Blynn will open. 

Phair announced the East Coast tour dates earlier this month. Tickets for the Baltimore show are now on sale.

The singer, who's just released album "Funstyle," credits Keith Richards for sending her back on the road. 

Famous for having stage fright, she said his memoir made her excited about performing live again. Earlier this year, she wrote a great review of the book for the New York Times.

Fans will be happy to know she isn't skipping "Exile in Guyville" at her live shows, or at least she didn't at the 9:30 club show earlier this month. Though those who like her early output are warned "Why Can't I" is also in the rotation.

Next year's tour dates follow:

Continue reading "Liz Phair to perform at Rams Head Live in January" »

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December 27, 2010

What Washington D.C. pundits love listening to: Sleigh Bells

Figures, seeing as the sound they make collectively is ear-splitting noise that only occasionally makes sense.   Ana Marie Cox (the Wonkette and now a Washington correspondent at  GQ) asked non-music reporters and politico types to pick the stuff they listened to the most last year, and besides agreeing that John Boehner cries too much, they all liked the musical stylings of Kanye West, Arcade Fire, and, like our Jay Hancock, Superchunk. Seems even pols and pundits have a soul, if you can call liking Pitchfork's choices for 2010's best music having a soul.

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (1)
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Teena Marie at her best: performing on "Soul Train" (Video)

R&B singer Teena Marie died Sunday. Didn't know who she was? or thought she was a novelty act from the 60s? Here's all you need to know: "Ooo La La La."

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December 24, 2010

Wiz Khalifa brings his "Waken Baken" tour to Rams Head Live

Most stars would deal with a drug bust by apologizing, fleeing to rehab, or appearing before Oprah for some major PR repair.

Wiz Khalifa bragged about his. Again and again.

"When u get this high, sometimes tha veggies get low so be smart about finding refills," he tweeted earlier this month.

Later he followed up with, "Real g's smoke when they want," and, "waken...baken...smelled it in my sleep."

All of which suggests a couple of things. One, that someone should really compile Wiz' top ten best tweets. And, that one drug bust is not going to hurt his career, instead, it'll probably enhance it.  Notice that with his tweets, he's also plugging his Waken Baken Tour.

Soon after his arrest for pot possession in November, he sold out two shows at Rams Head Live, where he will perform Monday and Tuesday.

As I blogged earlier this month, Rams Head has no plans to schedule a third show. So if you weren't one of the lucky ones to grab tickets, maybe you should get started with that top ten.

Continue reading "Wiz Khalifa brings his "Waken Baken" tour to Rams Head Live" »

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December 23, 2010

Ice Cube to play Baltimore in March

Looking at Bourbon Street's schedule for next year, there's this bit of news: Ice Cube will play there next year.

Ice Cube's show is scheduled for March 7. Tickets, sold at $25, are already on sale at Ticketmaster.

The founding member of N.W.A. is taking a break from doing kiddie road movies and generally being rap's answer to Steve Martin. He released a new album in September and is coming off a co-headlining tour with Snoop Dogg. He last performed in the area in July, at Jiffy Lube Live, with Limp Bizkit.  

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:08 PM | | Comments (1)
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December 20, 2010

Fake Willow Smith show advertised in Maryland

willowsmith.jpegAn ad in Friday's paper had some great news for local fans of Willow Smith: her first show in the state.

But as if you couldn't tell from the picture to your right, the show is a fake. Label RocNation confirmed none of the members of the Smith family have any shows scheduled in Baltimore or anywhere in Maryland in the foreseeable future.

You're still invited to whip your hair in the comfort of your own home, though.

The ad in the Live section of the Sun was tellingly rudimentary: just eight lines in different fonts - including Comic Sans - on a five-by-five black background.

It didn't include the concert's location, or the day.

It said the show would be produced by the conveniently vague North American Concerts N.A.

Naturally, the ad did include the cost of tickets - $25 in advance or $50 on the day of the show. How reasonably affordable! 

Tickets could be purchased by e-mailing whipinghair@gmail.com, which if anything, sounds like one of those great Baltimore hair salon names.

So far, e-mails to that address have gone unanswered When asked for more information, someone at that e-mail address wrote details would be announced soon.*

Continue reading "Fake Willow Smith show advertised in Maryland" »

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The top ten Baltimore concerts of 2010: Usher, Drake, Erykah Badu, Virgin FreeFest

Beware: it's best-of week here at Midnight Sun headquarters (I like to think of the Sun building as Midnight Sun headquarters, with a a newspaper under it).

There'll be a top ten of the best tracks of 2010 and one of the best albums. Today, it's the best live music shows of the year.

Sure, a bunch of headliners passed through town in 2010 - Usher, Snoop Dog, Smashing Pumpkins.

But in the end, the best concerts of the year were those that packed a bunch of them under a tent.

Summer Spirit Festival gave us Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu, Whartscape had Nadastrom and the Get 'Em Mamis. And at Virgin Mobile FreeFest, you could have shuttled between M.I.A. and LCD Soundsystem. (For my money, the best tent was at the dance forest, where Neon Indian, Chromeo and Sleigh Bells performed so furiously they made it feel more like a dust bowl.)

This year's top ten goes back as early as January and as late as last week. It features some surprises  - see Sam Sessa's choice for No. 9. - but covers all genres - there's country! and hip hop! - and local acts.

Don't see your favorite show from last year? (Lower Dens at the Ottobar in October? Justin Bieber at the State Fair?) Post it in the comments, and I'll post the list's top ten snubs according to readers later this week.

The top ten list is here

Photo: LCD Soundsystem at Virgin Mobile FreeFest (Josh Sisk/Baltimore Sun)

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:47 AM | | Comments (3)
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December 15, 2010

Alice Cooper, master of "crotch rock," inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Alice Cooper has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2011. Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love are the other inductees.

Cooper, who I interviewed in October when he performed at Merriweather Post Pavilion, released his first album with the band of the same name in 1969.

Still, he said, he's doing his best shows now.

"A lot of bands today get together, play, make an album, break up and form another band. There's no bands staying together," he said then. "My generation seems to have a different work ethic. I always thought, 'Do 25 albums.' I'm a lifer."

He said his success is due in part to his songwriting sensibilities -  "When I learned how to write lyrics, I was listening to Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Gershwin" - and his sense of frivolity.

He added, "A lot of hard rock today sounds joyless. Bands forget to have fun. Rock should be played from the crotch not the brain," a phrase that's now stitched on my fluffiest throw pillows. 

Kevin Eck, reviewing the MPP show in October, wrote of Cooper, [He's] both ring master and narrator. He gives you a story line that tied the songs together, complete with characters, costume changes and props."

Photo: Cooper in October at MPP (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:07 PM | | Comments (0)
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Will BWI offend Das Racist too?

Here's your shot of outrage for the week: A British Airport detained Das Racist for eight hours Monday over problems with their visa.

The New York mock-rap duo are not taking it lightly. On their website they posted their detention papers, and complained about the treatment they received at the hands of airport agents. 

"We were held in a room with books, prayer rug and compass, television and remote, and these horrible sandwiches," they wrote, appalled.

The visa problem?  Flying while Indian? Their bogus politics, as the two first suggested?

Nah, it was "because of some sticklerism on the part of UK Customs regarding paperwork," they wrote.

Word of advice to the next airport that receives them: lay off the full-body scans. That airport? Good ol' Baltimore-Washington International. The rappers are playing a show at Sonar on January 13.

News of the detention was all over the interblogs yesterday, but I've been in the process of scheduling an interview with them to preview the show, and so I asked their flack if the rappers had any messages for local TSA. Sadly, I haven't yet gotten a sassy answer back. 

Maybe they'll have something more to say at Sonar.

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:40 AM | | Comments (1)
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December 14, 2010

No plans for a third Wiz Khalifa show at Rams Head Live

Just got Rams Head Live's schedule through January 14 and noticed both Wiz Khalifa shows are sold out. Rams Head says there are no plans to add a third. Originally, the venue scheduled one show for December 28, but that one sold out within a week of going on sale October 27. A second show was added for December 27, but that one sold out as well within a week of going on sale November 30. Guess fans will have to rely on eBay, Craigslist, or else if they want to get to the gig.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:15 PM | | Comments (0)
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"Tron"? We, Golden Globes, love Cher more

Golden Globes, I spit on you. Shutting out "Tron: Legacy" but nominating claymation musical "Burlesque"? You might as well be the CableACE Awards. Anyway, here are the nominees for best original song: "Bound to You" from "Burlesque"; "Coming Home" from "Country Strong;" "I See the Light" from "Tangled;" "There's a Place for Us" from "Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader;" and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque." Here's to hoping Cher won't be re-animated to sing the last song at the show. In the score category, Daft Punk was passed over for Trent Reznor's score for "The Social Network." Meanwhile, a person with lots of time mashed up 270 of this year's movies for a six-minute YouTube video set to the music of Kanye West, Ratatat:

Continue reading ""Tron"? We, Golden Globes, love Cher more" »

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December 7, 2010

Trey Songz to appear at Sound Garden Wednesday

If you want face-to-face time with Trey Songz before he opens for Usher at 1st Mariner Arena Wednesday night, the singer will appear at Sound Garden at 3 p.m. He will be signing copies of his CDs. The record store has been giving out bracelets to fans who want to reserve a spot in the autograph line. Space is expected to be limited.

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:02 PM | | Comments (2)
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December 6, 2010

Indies score over half of Grammy nominations for first time

More surprises from the Grammys. Arcade Fire wasn't the only indie band to snag a Grammy nomination last week. In fact, the Canadians' nomination for best album of the year was one of 273 indie artists and record labels received, the first time independent releases have taken up over 50 percent of the nominations. A2IM, a trade group that follows the independent music industry, perceptively pointed out the landmark last week. At least in this regard, the Grammys reflect an actual industry trend: the passing of the major record labels. Maybe this makes up for Janelle Monae, Big Boi and Sade being (mostly) ignored.
Posted by Erik Maza at 12:18 PM | | Comments (1)
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December 3, 2010

Q&A and video: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band on Warped Tour, T-Pain, and rural Indiana

Contributor Benjamin Opipari interviews the Reverend Peyton, of the American blues band Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, before his performance Saturday at the 8X10. Also: video of the band in action.

When we tell our friends how a band sounds, we usually resort to comparing it to another band. But what if the band in question truly sounds like no one else? Consider The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

The three-piece, which hails from rural Indiana, consists of The Rev on bottleneck slide guitar (the oldest of which was made in 1935), his wife Breezy on the washboard, and his cousin Aaron “Cuz” Persinger on drums and five gallon bucket.

They have no need for a bass, since The Rev’s picking style allows for him to play both parts on his guitar (as he once told the band Ha Ha Tonka, “Boys, we don’t need no bass player. My thumb plays the bass.”) They record live to analog tape. And their songs are mostly true stories - yes, he does know someone whose brother was on the show “Cops;" his brother did steal a chicken from the Fort Wayne Zoo, and his mama does make the best fried potatoes.

Fresh off a slot at Warped Tour and a show at Merriweather Post Pavilion, they are now touring in support of their new release "The Wages," which entered the Billboard Blues chart at No. 2.

Midnight Sun: Your songs all tell stories. How do you consider yourself a storyteller? There are lots of different kinds of songs. There are songs that tell stories, there are songs that share emotions, there are songs that are just dance songs. I want to be diverse. I might start singing about food and end up singing about what they are doing to the water. I want to sing about everything. Songs should be about life, and life is about a whole bunch of things. I want to tell stories about regular people.So when you write a song, you start with a story in mind. Absolutely. And I like plain-speakin' songs. Not songs where you wonder what they are about. People shouldn’t need a degree in critical literature to figure out a song.

MS: And how do write songs with a washboard in mind? When it comes down to it, even slow songs are dance music. And there’s nothing more danceable than a washboard. That instrument started with regular people who didn’t have the money to afford real instruments, and by accident they found one of the most rhythmic instruments on the planet.

MS: We talked about the importance of melody the last time we met. I’ve always been struck by how much you focus on the melody of the words, not just the music. Your words can stand as melody without music. Absolutely. I think that’s why we can play in the remote parts of Italy, where they don’t speak any English, and people love it. It’s like an opera. It doesn’t matter what she’s singing.

Continued:

Continue reading "Q&A and video: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band on Warped Tour, T-Pain, and rural Indiana" »

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December 2, 2010

Chuck Brown, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Arcade Fire pick up Grammy nominations

The last batch of Grammy nominations have been announced! And there were a few surprises. For starters, a dead person scored a nomination. That would be Michael Jackson, who is nominated for best pop performance for "This is It," a song he wrote with Paul Anka that was featured in his concert film of the same name. Also surprising: Arcade Fire are nominated three times, including album of the year. Their competition in that category? Lady Gaga and Eminem. Of local interest: go-go godfather Chuck Brown was also nominated for best R&B performance by a duo or group for "Love," a track in his new album, "We Got This." Robyn, who'll perform at Rams Head Live in February, got her first nomination for "Dancing on my Own." A full list of nominees is here.
Posted by Erik Maza at 10:09 AM | | Comments (0)
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Anberlin to perform at Rams Head Live in January

Alternative rock band Anberlin announced a tour Wednesday that includes a stop in Baltimore.

The Winter Haven, Florida five-piece will play Rams Head Live January 26.

I hadn't heard of these guys until just yesterday, when Al Shipley mentioned them over narrowcast. His assessment? Catchier than the new Jimmy Eat World song, but with a look that's too "ridiculous and European boy band." In their defense, that is the offiicial emo uniform of Winter Haven, FL.

The band is enjoying some new success after eight years together. Their fifth album, "Dark is the way, Light is a Place," peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. Tickets for the RHL show are on sale now.

Incidentally, Jimmy Eat World also announced new tour dates Wednesday. 

Tour dates for both bands after the jump:

Continue reading "Anberlin to perform at Rams Head Live in January" »

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November 30, 2010

Bryan Adams to perform at Hippodrome Theater

ADAMS%20-%20Live%20B%26W.JPGBryan Adams will perform at the Hippdrome Theater at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in January, the theater announced Monday.

Adams, most known for providing the theme song to Kevin Costner's Robin Hood movie, is on a worldwide solo-acoustic concert tour that includes stops in places near and far. For instance, he's in Dayton, Ohio one day, and the next week he's Beirut.

The Baltimore date hasn't even been posted on his official website yet. 

Fun fact from the press release! Four years ago, Adams was awarded the Order of Canada. Does that mean we have to call him Sir Bryan, now? At least it means you won't ever confuse him with Ryan Adams again, right? Remember! Bryan is the one who's literally Canadian royalty.

The Canadian singer-songwriter will perform at the theater January 29. Tickets - at $37.50 to $67.50 - will go on sale December 3 at the theater's box office, or at ticketmaster.com 

Photo: Bryan Adams official website 

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:31 AM | | Comments (1)
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November 29, 2010

Vampire Weekend shills for Tommy Hilfiger, Honda

Vampire Weekend has allowed its "Holiday" to be used for a couple of new ads. Among them? The Macy's man Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger. You see, the preppy New Yorkers can still surprise us. It is at least only a single, not as bad as the truckloads of Christmas CDs I've been getting. The other ad is for Honda. The band played Merriweather Post Pavilion in September. (via Stereogum)
Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (5)
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Tour partners Usher, Trey Songz tie at Soul Train Awards - Awkward!

Usher and Trey Songz were up for the same award at Sunday night's Soul Train Awards. You would think the heir apparent to Michael Jackson would have this one in the bag right? Well, his tour opener, Trey Songz, half-swiped it away from him, tying with him for best R&B male artist. That's got to be like your little brother taking the king's crown at the sophomore homecoming dance - this being the Soul Train awards and all. Usher later upped his score by winning best album of the year for "Raymond v. Raymond." The two of them will swing by 1st Mariner Arena Wednesday December 8 on Usher's OMG Tour. I'll have a preview of the show here later this week. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:22 AM | | Comments (2)
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November 25, 2010

What are 2011's most anticipated live shows?

In June, Sade will kick off her first tour in a decade at Baltimore's own 1st Mariner Arena. And a week later, U2 will bring their colossal tour to M&T Bank Stadium.

If you like 'em smaller, Robyn will perform at Rams Head Live and so will Girl Talk. The 90s will be back (again) when The Dismemberment Plan reunites at the Black Cat and the 9:30 club for a couples of dates - tickets still available, by the way. As will the 80s -when Bon Jovi performs at Verizon Center.

Shows! 2011's got many of them. Yesterday, I asked you what albums you were most excited about hearing next year. Can you picture the next question? What are your most anticipated shows of 2011? 

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:00 AM | | Comments (4)
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November 24, 2010

What are 2011's most anticipated albums?

Kanye West wasn't quite finished dominating the entertainment news cycle this week, when a new collaboration with Jay-Z leaked, positioning their new album already as one of next year's most anticipated.

It apparently also made some people start compiling their wish-lists for the new year. Stereogum ran their top 50 today, with Kanye/Jay-Z landing at 48, and Lady Gaga at 21. As most of these things go, almost half the list is wish-fulfillment - at least that many albums have no announced released dates.

On my list? Polly. Jean. Harvey. Three years is way too long. My favorite Irish lady Roisin Murphy might - just might - finally release a follow-up to "Overpowered." And from what Thrill Jockey tells me, Future Islands will follow up their "In Evening Air" in late 2011.

What are your most anticipated albums of 2011? 

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:58 AM | | Comments (8)
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November 23, 2010

Girl Talk's "All Day" visualized

This guy made a visual breakdown of all 372 songs sampled in every track of Girl Talk's new album, "All Day." You may now go shower him with compliments.

The nifty Girl Talk visualizer is here. The DJ will perform at Rams Head Live January 31. (via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:59 AM | | Comments (0)
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Robyn to perform at Rams Head Live in February

Robyn announced new dates for her North American tour, which until now was scheduled to bypass the metropolitan area.

On February 1, she will perform at Rams Head Live.

The show is a pretty big get for Rams Head. She's no ten on Pitchfork or anything, but Robyn's new album triptych - "Body Talk Pts. 1 & 2" and "Body Talk" - have been nearly universally embraced. So much so she was even featured on an episode of "Gossip Girl," a blessing of mass appeal if there ever was one.

In the episode, Robyn sings "Hang with Me" while Blair argues with her mother over Chuck, and Serena flirts with Joan Holloway's husband, who I'm pretty sure was stationed in Vietnam. TV is so magic. (I also learned watching that clip that "One Tree Hill" is still on)

Robyn's new album, "Body Talk" was released Monday along with her new single, "Indestructible."

Full tour dates after the jump:

Continue reading "Robyn to perform at Rams Head Live in February" »

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November 22, 2010

Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block to play D.C. in June

Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block announced a co-headlining tour Sunday following a joint performance at the American Music Awards.

The tour, which will kick off June 2, will come to Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center on its second night

Tickets for that show will go on sale December 11 via Live Nation and Ticketmaster. 

If you don't remember - as I didn't - the band members are: Joey McIntyre, AJ McLean, Jordan Knight, Howie Dorough, Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Littrell, Danny Wood and Nick Carter. I'll leave you to sort out which middle-aged heartthrob belongs to which boy band. 

Full dates after the jump: 

Continue reading "Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block to play D.C. in June" »

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The American Music Awards 2010 in less than 30 words

I didn't watch the American Music Awards. There were just other things on TV Sunday night that I was more interested in watching, like static. But The Awl did. Live-blogged it, in fact. Here are the AMAs in a nutshell: "9:02 p.m. Nicki Minaj's 10-word speech went through about three of her accents. Impressive that she did that while wearing an exoskeleton made of zippers." The water-cooler is waiting for you to discuss. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:25 PM | | Comments (0)
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November 19, 2010

Royksopp announce new tour dates

Royksopp announced new North American tour dates Thursday.

The Norwegian duo will tour in March to just four American cities, but luckily, it includes Washington D.C. They will perform at the 9:30 club.

Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge are probably best known for "What else is there?" the 2005 existential electronic-pop tune that featured The Knife's Karin Dreijer.

It'd be easy to think they would be sedate on tour, but Marc Hogan over at Pitchfork had this to say about its live album, "Royksopp's Night Out:" their "live set is much better and more raucuous than hunching next to the speakers at yer local Crate & Barrel."

Tickets are now on sale. 

Full dates after the jump: 

Continue reading "Royksopp announce new tour dates" »

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November 18, 2010

UPDATE: "Ace of Cakes" meets Pavement, Stephen Malkmus

In an unprecedented collision of the worlds of baking, reality TV and Stephen Malkmus, Pavement will appear on an upcoming episode of "Ace of Cakes."

It's not clear how this happened. Perhaps this is the show Malkmus chooses to pig out to those nights after a bad show. 

Or maybe Duff  Goldman is just a big fan.

But the show taped the episode in September in New York.

The Chicago Reader, which has been following the band on tour, blogged about it Wednesday in a post reminiscing about the band's recent string of shows. Pitchfork got the confirmation from the band's label.

Those who want to know when the show will air, or if Goldman made an edible statue of Stephen Malkmus, as no doubt obsessed fans would like, will have to wait. I will update when I get word from Charm City Cakes.

The idolized 90s band reunited earlier this year for their first world tour in 11 years. In September, it performed at Virgin Mobile FreeFest right after Matt & Kim. 

Update:  Charm City Cakes manager Mary Alice Yeskey confirmed the Pavement episode will air January 20. She said the cake was inspired by the artwork of one of the band's albums, but wouldn't say which one. Guesses?

Update 2: "Ace of Cakes" has been canceled, but the new season, including the Pavement episode will still air in its entirety.

Photo: Jeremy Lemos/Chicago Reader
Posted by Erik Maza at 1:09 PM | | Comments (1)
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November 17, 2010

Joanna Newsom on groupies, her band, and 'Have one on me'

Joanna Newsom has reached a place where she has groupies.

They’re not the Penny Lane types or have her likeness stiched on throw pillows. She’s a harpist, after all. She has groupies the way Sarah Vowell has groupies.

“I don’t know if they would call themselves groupies, but there are people that follow me from town to town,” said, before adding the requite, “It’s very sweet.”

Six years after the release of her first album, “The Milk-Eyed Mender,” Newsom has gone from playing small venues like San Francisco’s Du Nord café to playing Rams Head Live, where she’ll perform Sunday.

Her new album, “Have one on me,” debuted in 7th place on Billboard’s independent charts.

At this point, her fans can recite all ten minutes of “Emily,” from her last album, “Ys” and just as easily pivot to one of the small symphonies in the new one.

Newsom inspires breathless devotion, the way people treasure things they don’t think others will appreciate. When she picked the songs on the 90-minute show - a quarter from “Mender,” a quarter from “Ys” and the rest from her new album, “Have one on me” – she did it with her groupies in mind.

“I want to make sure they hear as many songs as possible,” she said. “I believe every song gets played at some point during the tour.”

The show she’s touring with is not unlike her music: complicated, full of unfamiliar sounds and references, and only deceptively brittle.

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November 16, 2010

The Beatles, unknown Brits, finally added to iTunes

beatles.bmpDo you feel different? is your step a little lighter? Apple boasted Monday today would be a day "you'll never forget." Could it be a half-priced iPhone? One with pitch-perfect reception? Well? Well?

At 10 a.m. today, the company made the announcement: after much speculation, Prince William finally proposed to Kate Middleton. Holy Cow! Well, I'll never forg--. Wait, what? The Beatles on iTunes? So easy to confuse Brits making headlines.

Apple today succeeded in convincing the surviving members of the band, the wives of the dead ones, and EMI, the band's record company, to sell their music on iTunes. 

The move is a major coup for Apple, which had wooed The Beatles for years only for talks to disintegrate over trademark disputes and pricing.

For the band, which like some of its contemporaries will likely continue to make more money from CD rather than digital sales, it's a recognition of the importance of digital sales going forward.

It's not clear yet how the deal came together, if Steve Jobs had to promise Yoko Ono to cut off his pinkie toe or what. Presumably, it involves a lot of dollars. The New York Times notes one likely sticking point was pricing, with the band members wanting to charge more than the 99 cents Apple usually charges for songs.

Just as they did in its heyday, and later in the 80s when their catalog was reissued on CD - solidifying the emergence of that technology - The Beatles have lately been itching to again play a key role in the evolution of music. Last year, they signed off on the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, the popular video game they sanctioned as an official part of their canon.

All 13 Beatles albums are on iTunes now, with the box set clocking in at $149 and most individual songs sold at $1.29. 

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Robert Plant to skip Baltimore in new 2011 tour

Robert Plant announced Monday a new 15-city tour that will include a stop in Washington D.C.

The former Led Zeppelin frontman will perform at DAR Constitution Hall February 1. The announcement is surely good news for fans in the metropolitan area, but raises the question: what gives?

As I've been posting 2011 tour dates for the last couple of weeks, the clear trend emerging is major headliners scheduling shows in DC and sometimes Philadelphia, and almost invariably skipping Baltimore. Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, the lady from Lilith Fair - all will stop by our neighbor cities and spurn Charm City.

When referring to the back-to-back U2 and Sade concerts next year, mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said 2011 would be "a real statement" for Baltimore. But two headliners does not a statement make.

I have already reported on the difficulty area stadiums have had in booking major acts, something that's occurring nationwide. But the schedule at our mid-sized venues isn't that much encouraging. Ozzy Osbourne and Usher will both play 1st Mariner Arena in the next month. But after that the biggest star on the venue's calendar from now through June are the Harlem Globetrotters.

Pier Six hasn't posted shows for 2011 yet. Here's hoping both venues pick up the slack otherwise, it's going to be a long wait until the various summer concert series  start again.

Tickets for Robert Plant go on sale Friday on Ticketmaster.

Addendum: Let me add a couple of clarifying points to the post. Yes, headliners have passed over the city in the past, but what remains debatable is the why: is it residents, Live Nation, the city? There are actually several possible answers, which is why I posted this. Seth Hurwitz, founder of promoter I.M.P., has said in the past that a big reason headliners bypass Baltimore is the city's 10 percent amusement tax, which stipulates that  10 percent of all ticket grosses must go to the city. Live Nation is another major obstacle, because it too often directs acts to its other venues (Jiffy Lube Live) or just to A-list markets like Washington. What are some of the other reasons? Commenters have mentioned some others below.

Now, in the past five years, Hurwitz and Frank Remesch, the big honcho at 1st Mariner Arena, have done a tremendous job in courting major talent to the area, succeeding with Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, even Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (two years ago at Merriweather Post Pavilion).

The 2011 tour announcements that have been made so far perhaps suggest an early reversal to that trend. We'll only know if it changes as headliners announce their tours over the coming months. (Pier Six Pavilion won't make its summer concert series announcement until the Spring.)

Full Robert Plant dates after the jump: 

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November 15, 2010

Girl Talk's new album posted online as free download, includes Rye Rye sample

DJ Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, posted his entire new album, "All Day," online as a free download today.

The hour-long album -- which can be downloaded track by track or as a seamless MP3 -- features 12 tracks that sample everyone from Lady Gaga ("Bad Romance") and Willow Smith ("Whip My Hair") to Neil Diamond ("Cherry, Cherry") and Bananarama ("Cruel Summer").

Rye Rye's "Bang" is sampled on track "Get it Get it" around the 1:55 mark (36:59 on the seamless track).  (Thanks to reader gothaggis for noticing)

Gillis will perform at Rams Head Live January 31 as part of a 40-city tour he'll embark on at the beginning of the year.

To download the album, go to illegal-art.net. (Warning: website seems to be loading slow).

Photo: illegal-art.net

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Nick Cave's Grinderman to play 9:30 club; Linkin Park announce Spring tour dates

Tonight Grinderman, the band headed by troubadour Nick Cave, will play late night TV after kicking off its 12-city tour a couple of days ago. 

But tomorrow, the four piece will be in D.C.

Despite looking like the staff of a Michigan funeral parlot, Grinderman  is the side project of four of the members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. They're touring with their new album, "Grinderman 2," which, despite coming from four grizzled musicians cracked the Billboard Top 40 in September.

How grizzled are these guys? Look at 'em. They look more crotchety than Robert Duvall in "Get Low." 

Grinderman will perform at the 9:30 Club Tuesday. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold at ticketfly.com. (Also, at some point, make it your beeswax to watch "The Proposition," which Cave scored. You can trick your girlfriend into thinking you're going to watch "The Proposal.")

Update: In other news, Linkin Park - ancient in their own way - have announced Spring tour dates, including a stop February 10 stop at Verizon Center

Update 2: Apparently it's a big day for tour announcements. My Chemical Romance will play at the 9:30 Club May 10, Warner Bros. Records announced today. Swedish singer Lykke Li will stop in the area in May.

Full Grinderman, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance tour dates after the break:

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November 12, 2010

Before playing The Ottobar, Maps and Atlases talk "math rock," art school, Roy Orbison

Contributor Ben Opipari interviewed Maps and Atlases before their Sunday show at The Ottobar.

Dave Davison resists the label “math rock” that some people have pinned on his band Maps and Atlases, which is now touring with their album, "Perch Patchwork."

Though the label has stuck because of their complex rhythmic structures and unconventional time signatures, that’s not what Davison hears in their music.

Math rock the music, like mathematics the subject, after all, requires a “coldness and calculation" he said they don't have.

Midnight Sun: So what is math rock, and are you comfortable with that label?

Dave Davison: From what I understand, math rock is music that involves fast tech guitar playing and drumming, with a lot of time signature changes and drastic key changes. It’s very theory based. But that’s not really how we describe ourselves. We like some elements, but I wouldn’t say that’s what we are.

MS: Then what would you call yourselves?

DD: I guess progressive or experimental pop. We don’t dislike the term math rock, but one reason why we don’t embrace the label is that there’s an element of coldness and calculation when I think of math rock. Part of our desire as a band is to make interesting, new and challenging music, but an equally big part is that we want to make fun, meaningful and exciting sounds that people can relate to. And there are aspects of playing mathematical music that can sometimes be over people’s heads.

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November 11, 2010

Sarah McLachlan to play DAR Constitution Hall in January

Sarah McLachlan announced today 23 additional dates on her new tour, including a stop in Washington D.C.

The Canadian folk pop singer, who earlier this summer headlined the female-driven music festival Lilith Fair, is now touring with a show called "Sarah and Friends" that also features Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland.

McLachlan will appear at Constitutional Hall January 10. Tickets go on sale Friday through Ticketmaster.

McLachlan had a tough time over the summer with Lilith Fair, which had to cancel ten dates over low ticket sales amid what organizers described as a difficult concert season.

Full dates below:

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John Butler Trio on being Australia's Dave Matthews Band

johnbutler.jpgIn Australia, the roots band John Butler Trio are as massively popular as Dave Matthews Band is here.  In the country that actually gave birth to Dave though, he might be lost among the glut of imitators.

But founder John Butler, who has already opened for Dave Matthews several times, said their three albums should hold an appeal beyond fans of the popular jam band.

“We just want to play to anybody who wants to listen,” said leader John Butler. “We don’t really have personal borders when it comes to music.” 

On Sunday, Butler, drummer Nicky Bomba and bassist Byron Luiters will perform at Rams Head Live to promote their new album, “April Uprising.”

The band, which specializes in upbeat songs that straddle reggae and alt rock, has been together since 1998 in one form or another, and have two platinum albums to their name in their native Australia.

They’ve been touring America since the early 2000s, where they have found support in headliners like Matthews and John Mayer. Before coming to Baltimore, they’ll even open four shows for for Matthews.

Though they have found limited commercial success here — their highest selling single is 2004’s “Sunrise Over Sea,” which sold 128,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan —they’ve been highly popular on the American festival circuit.

Butler said crowds here are easier than back home.

“Americans are pretty enthusiastic right from the get go,” he said. “Australians take a little bit more warming up, but Americans are always ready to go.”

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November 10, 2010

Recording Industry: Here's a handy guide on best websites for stealing music

In response to an inquiry from the federal government trade czar, the Recording Industry Association of America released Monday a filing itemizing "notorious markets" across the globe.

Notorious markets are physical places and websites "driven by the illegal sales or downloads of unauthorized music." 

Unfortunately for them, the filing inadvertently doubles as a primer on the best websites for stealing music. If you didn't know what The Pirate Bay was, you will now thanks to the geniuses at the RIAA. 

"This is an important and new opportunity to shine a spotlight on notorious markets and websites that provide unauthorized access to U.S. content," said Neil Turkewitz, EVP, International in the association's statement.

Of course, music piracy has a deep impact not just on content providers, but on artists selling their music independently and non-corporate music stores.

Highlighted in the filing are physical markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America. And, file-sharing websites like The Pirate Bay, Rapidshare, and Isohunt.(via p2pnet)

After the jump, the full filing:

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November 8, 2010

Part tribute show, part "Divas Live!" Experience Hendrix brings Brad Whitford, Jonny Lang, Susan Tedeschi together to honor Jimi Hendrix

Jonny Lang and Susan Tedeschi are two accomplished musicians, with several Grammy nominations to their credit (even a win, for Lang).

Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, veteran guitarists Ernie Isley and Steve Vai, and metal band Living Colour, are no spring chickens either. Each could headline their own show with their own material. 

But when they play the Hippodrome Theater on Thursday, they won't be playing their stuff. They'll play Jimi Hendrix's.

They're just some of the performers on the Experience Hendrix tour, a traveling revue-style concert that gathers some of the country's better-known musicians to perform two hours of Hendrix's catalog.

It's part tribute show and part VH1 "Divas Live!" but with Gibsons and Fenders instead of Arethas or Mariahs.

The full story is here

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
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November 5, 2010

Girl Talk announces 40-city tour in 2011, including four stops near Baltimore

DJ Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, announced a new 40-city tour for next year that will stop in Baltimore and Washington D.C. 

The tour kicks off in Nebraska next week and will end in March 2011. Girl Talk is known for compositions that are all samples, sometimes containing dozens of them in one three-minute song.

His shows are no crazier than a night at the Thirsty Turtle, without the stabbing. His signature schtick is toilet papering the audience and flouting copyright law. 

His area stops include Rams Head Live and the 9:30 club.

Update: Tickets will be available on Girl Talk's Facebook page starting this weekend, says Pitch Perfect PR.   

Full dates after the jump:

 

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November 3, 2010

Who is more airbrushed in their new album covers, Neil Diamond or Liza Minnelli?

diamond1.jpgA bunch of old timers have new albums out this year. And while they say women tend to be more vain than men, I'm not sure if that's the case from just looking at the album covers from Neil Diamond and Liza Minnelli.

Diamond, whose "Dreams" is a collection of covers -- including a limp "Midnight Train to Georgia" -- looks as stiff as one of wax figures at Madame Tussauds'.

And poor Liza looks as fresh-faced as a young Rachel Maddow.

Meanwhile, Elton John and Leon Russell show off every wrinkle on the cover of their awesome new album, "The Union."

A side-by-side comparison after the jump:

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After "difficult" second album, Wolf Parade returns to Baltimore with "Expo '86"

Five years ago, there was a surplus of “wolf” bands: Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, AIDS Wolf, even Peter and the Wolf.

But thanks to the acclaimed 2005 album “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” Wolf Parade is the only one we remember.

The Montreal four-piece recently released its third album, “Expo ‘86” and is on an 18-city tour to promote it that stops at Rams Head Live Friday.

Third albums tend to find bands in “return to basics” mode, normally following disappointing sophomore efforts where the band tried everything they weren’t allowed to do the first time around.

“Expo ‘86” is no different.

“We just wanted to make a record that was us making a rock ‘n’ roll record,” said drummer Arlen Thompson. “We didn’t want to get too deep into production. We wanted to keep things simple, capturing us as a band.”

Though their second album, “At Mount Zoomer” wasn’t a disappointment — it charted much higher than “Queen Mary” and garnered a 9.2 rating on metacritic.com — it took a year to complete, with band members working on it in fits in starts as they tended to solo projects.

“With ‘Zoomer,’ things were getting interrupted,” Thompson said. “We lost track of what we were doing. We were still satisfied with it, but it was a more difficult record to birth.”

Continue reading "After "difficult" second album, Wolf Parade returns to Baltimore with "Expo '86"" »

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Free Grateful Dead downloads all of November

Christmas came early for Dead Heads.

Every day in November, the Grateful Dead will give up a free download from the band's sprawling catalog on its website.

It's part of the "30 days of Dead," a month-long promotional push that started November 1. 

Most tracks are previously unreleased soundboard recordings, according to the website's press release. And they are meant to honor the "tapers who documented the Dead's concerts and trade them freely with other Dead Heads."

Tracks are available for free for one day only. Fans have already missed out on "New Speedway Boogie" and "Dark Star."

Unfortunately, the website hasn't posted the names of the other tracks they plan on releasing, effectively killing my plan of building a Grateful Dead advent calendar.

Continue reading "Free Grateful Dead downloads all of November" »

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November 2, 2010

Why U2's 2011 Baltimore show will be a one-off

When U2 plays M&T Bank Stadium next year, it will be the city's first stadium headliner in two years.

But even though it'll bring crowds and dollars to Baltimore, here's why there probably won't be a repeat for another two years.

For one, "while rock bands used to exclusively play stadiums, in the last decade the increased cost of producing a stage show has shifted the burden of making a profit to the stadiums.

"The economics of producing a stage show today are extremely difficult," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, the concert industry's trade magazine. "To make it work, you almost have to guarantee a sellout or come close to capacity."

M&T can only now book artists who can sell all 70,000 seats, or they won't make a profit.

"If you look at the concert industry today, you're not seeing many acts playing stadium shows," said Roy Sommerhof, vice president of stadium operations. "For an act to sell a stadium now, it'd would have to be a mega act,"

That's why M&T hasn't had a concert since 2008's Kenny Chesney show, he said.

Artists themselves are realizing that they can make stadium-sized money by playing in arenas instead, which cost less to produce and sell faster. Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, even young big acts like Lady Gaga and Beyonce are playing more venues like 1st Mariner than M&T or FedEx Field.

Continue reading "Why U2's 2011 Baltimore show will be a one-off" »

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November 1, 2010

Did you go to Howard University's Yardfest?

Rick Ross, rapper Wale, R&B singer Dondria, and 80s rapper Doug E. Fresh performed at Howard University's Yardfest Friday. 

They were were just a few of the 60 that took the stage as part of the school's Homecoming festivities. 

The 6-hour event has a reputation for launching future R&B stars. Kanye West and Jay-Z have performed there; Notorious B.I.G. and Ludacris have dedicated songs to the party.

Click Track's Chris Richards was there: "Designer fragrances were whipping in the October wind while coeds sporting Crocs and pajama pants danced the two-step to a throbbing hip-hop beat."

Did any Baltimoreans go to Yardfest? Report back in the comments.

Photo: Wale at Yardfest (Josh Sisk/FTWP)

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Ozzy Osbourne, The Roots, Cat Stevens: the music at the Rally to Restore Sanity

Last week, The Roots, Jeff Tweedy and Sheryl Crow were announced as performers at Stephen Colbert and John Stewart's Rally for Sanity and/or Fear.

Turns out other major headliners joined them Saturday at the Washington Mall.

It was a day of music, politics and merchandise.

John Legend performed one the songs from "Wake Up!" his album of protest song covers with The Roots.

And Cat Stevens started to play his song "Peace Train," before being joined on stage by Ozzy Osbourne who sang his own "Crazy Train." Eventually, The O'Jays went on stage too to perform their own "Love Train." Musical puns! (Osbourne, by the way, performs at 1st Mariner Nov. 29.)

Kid Rock also performed a new ballad with Sheryl Crow, and was joined by future jailbird T.I. on video. 

Below, video of Tony Bennett and the Ozzy Osbourne-Cat Stevens-O'Jays mashup.  C-Span still has the entire 3-hour show online.

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October 28, 2010

The Roots, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples to perform at Jon Stewart D.C. rally

The Roots, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy are scheduled to perform at the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" Saturday at the National Mall.

Stewart, who is hosting the rally with Stephen Colbert, has been in Washington all week with "The Daily Show"; you might have missed his prickly interview with Barack Obama Wednesday night.

Today, the National Park Service released the permit for the rally, and the Christian Science Monitor got a hold of it. (Click Track picked it up earlier).

The Roots are scheduled for a pre-show performance, and Staples and Tweedy will go on for ten minutes at 1:40 p.m. Crow would follow later at 2:15 p.m. The entire show is scheduled to last nearly four hours.

The permit also allows that more musical guests may be added.

The rally is expected to be massive - a Huffington Post founder is even sponsoring 200 buses, and several side rallies are planned. Midnight Sun won't be there - there's too much Halloween in Baltimore this weekend  - are any readers going?

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:41 PM | | Comments (11)
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Can Andrew W.K. host a magic show?

Andrew W.K. was in Baltimore Wednesday night to host a magic show sponsored by Heineken beer called "The Most Interesting Show in the World."

TMISW, which is going to 16 other cities, is described by the company as an "upscale variety show," a phrase I would never associate with the metal goofball. Upscale, anyway. 

He was recruited by the Dos Equis, a subsidiary of Heineken, to lead a series performances by "eccentric personalities," including a Hungarian magician, burlesque dancers, and someone called Bubble Man.

Last night's show was at Bourbon Street, and tickets were given away.  

I couldn't make it. Did WK even perform? or did he just play ringleader? or was it just another illusion?

Here's to hoping he can add master of ceremonies to his long list of accomplishments, which already includes VH1 talking head, motivational speaker, and being a great fake blood model.

Photo: "I Get Wet" cover 

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October 22, 2010

Darius Rucker, country music rising star, will still play Hootie and The Blowfish at Pier Six Pavilion

dariusruckeralt.jpgDarius Rucker is a country music star on the rise. His first foray into the genre, “Learn to Live,” sold more than a million copies.

But to most people he’ll always be Hootie, the frontman of ‘90s rock band Hootie & the Blowfish.

And if the people who come to see him Friday, when he plays Pier Six Pavilion, are all Hootie fans, that’s all right with him.

“I’m not tired of playing “Let Her Cry,” he said, referring to the second single from Hootie’s major-label debut, “Cracked Rear View.”More than 15 years later, that album is still the 15th-best-selling of all time.

Rucker has been a solo artist for seven years now. He transitioned from soft rock to country in 2008, much to the surprise of the country music world, which hadn’t had an African-American star in decades. 

Continue reading "Darius Rucker, country music rising star, will still play Hootie and The Blowfish at Pier Six Pavilion" »

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After Virgin Mobile FreeFest, Matt and Kim return to Maryland for Rams Head Live show

BS-BS-ae-music-story-1022.jpgA month ago, Matt Johnson, the keyboard player and singer of dance-punk duo Matt and Kim, promised a powder keg of a show at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

With a prime spot before Pavement and LCD Soundsystem, they planned on tearing through a 45-minute set of their frenetic upbeat punk songs and, every now and then, 30-second covers of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.”

“We’re basically having a party,” he said then. “It’s just going to be Matt and Kim in a raw sense.”

But the festival turned out to be a missed opportunity, complicated by technical problems and a shortened set.

“There were certain parts of it that were super-rad and certain parts that were a disaster,” Johnson said. Fans shouldn’t take that as indication of future shows, he said.

When Johnson and Kim Schifino play Maryland for the second time in a month — this time at Rams Head Live on Saturday — the show will be a do-over.

It’s a philosophy you’d expect from a duo who have a reputation for being as plucky as Sally Hawkins in “Happy Go-Lucky,” and one they’ve begun to embrace since their second album, “Grand.”

The takeaway from their well-known single “Lessons Learned” is: “Never let your mark erase/ 'cause broken legs can be replaced.”

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October 21, 2010

Rye Rye plays free CMJ Music Marathon show tonight

Rye Rye will perform a free show Thursday night in New York City as part of the CMJ Music Marathon.

CMJ is five-day music festival, the East coast's SXSW basically, that features some 500 different bands.

Thursday's show makes the rapper the seventh Maryland musician to play at the event.

Baltimore's Lower Dens and Cumberland's Cotton Jones are among the other area bands that will perform. Lower Dens actually performed Wednesday the first of their 11 scheduled shows.

Rye Rye is a last minute addition. She made the announcement earlier this week on Facebook, natch.

She'll perform at the Hyper Machine showcase at Backstage Bar on the Lower East Side, where Moby's band Diamondsnake, VHS or Beta, among others, will also perform. 

It's been a big month for the rapper. She's coming off a tour with M.I.A., for whom she opened at CMJ three years ago.

And the video for her single, "Sunshine" is nearing a million page views.

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October 19, 2010

CMJ Music Marathon begins in New York, will feature local bands, Ghostface Killah, GZA, and 500 other acts

The relentless music marathon known as CMJ kicks off today in New York City, and six local bands will perform.

CMJ is a non-stop, five-day multimedia extravaganza that features some 500 different bands - many of them unknown - playing at 75 different venues, all but assuring that at some point of the day you might bump into a band that's never even trended playing at some dank, cramped club.

No, Willow Smith will not be performing, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention. 

In the past, CMJ has served as the Schwabb's drugstore of music, the site where previously unknown bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Black Kids, and Wye Oak were discovered by the industry.

But the important thing here is the local connection. Six local bands are playing, including Lower Dens, Cotton Jones, Deakin, Clutch, Zo!, and a DJ set by Avey Tare.

Lower Dens, actually, performs tonight at the Ottobar before heading to New York Wednesday for the first of a mind-boggling 11 CMJ shows.

Continue reading "CMJ Music Marathon begins in New York, will feature local bands, Ghostface Killah, GZA, and 500 other acts" »

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October 18, 2010

Dan Deacon screens John Carpenter's "The Thing," Ridley Scott's "Alien" at the Charles

In May, the Maryland Film Festival invited Dan Deacon to screen a movie of his choice at the Charles Theatre.

It was a regular feature for them: Jonathan Richman once screened "Cyrano de Bergerac," and Harvey Pekar showed "The Bicycle Thief" some years before.

But instead of picking the Oscar bait typical of most film festivals, Deacon went down market. He opted for an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

He could have chosen "Kindergarten Cop," or even "Conan the Barbarian," but he settled on Paul Verhoeven's "Total Recall."

If you don't recall "Total Recall," that's the movie set on a Mars-type planet where Ah-nuld tries to save humanity from an evil corporation, and Sharon Stone, halfway through, tries to kill him. Near the end, a man opens his trench coat to reveal a parasitical talking baby latched on to his stomach.

So much for good taste.

But the screening was a success. Counting on that support, Deacon and video artist Jimmy Joe Roche return to the Charles on Thursday with John Carpenter's "The Thing," the first in a series of pulpy movie screenings they're calling Gunky's Basement.

Tickets are $5. The rest of this story is here.

Deacon and Roche also have plans to screen "Repo Man," "Bad Boys 2" and the gloriously bloody "Scanners" by David Cronenberg. What else should they screen? 

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October 15, 2010

Avett Brothers, former pawn shop regulars, sell out Pier Six Pavilion

When they started touring a decade ago, North Carolina folk band the Avett Brothers nickel-and-dimed their way through 22 cities.

Traveling in a four-door pickup truck, they didn't play fancy venues; mostly just Irish pubs and sports bars.

But since getting signed to music mogul Rick Rubin's label in 2008, the band has upgraded to better digs. In 2009, they opened for Dave Matthews, and earlier this year, for John Mayer.

On their own headlining tour, they've been selling out 1,000-seat theaters like Boston's House of Blues and Tennessee's Rylan Auditorium. Saturday, they'll play a sold-out show at Pier Six Pavilion.

Bassist Bob Crawford said they didn't start out expecting to play arenas. "We never thought about making it big, or what big was," he said. "We've been doing the same thing for ten years. It's been a slow ride for us."

Before their first tour in 2001, Crawford and the namesake brothers, Scott and Seth, were just a bunch of well-read musicians peddling their own brand of sped-up Americana.

Scott was in graduate school, and Crawford was about to enter a graduate program himself. But Crawford convinced the then-three piece band to go on the road.

He sent out press kits in unassuming manila envelopes with just an 8-song album and a letter saying, "We're the Avett Brothers, and here's what we've done." Though he managed to book 22 venues, the tour was a gamble. For one, the gigs didn't pay a lot of money.

"There were times of struggle in the early years," Crawford said. "I had to go to the pawn shop a couple of times." There was the time he hocked a mandolin, then an air conditioner. 

Continue reading "Avett Brothers, former pawn shop regulars, sell out Pier Six Pavilion" »

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October 14, 2010

Q&A: Alice Cooper on Rob Zombie, Jennifer Aniston, and "crotch rock"

PX00009_9.JPGAlice Cooper is co-headlining Merriweather Post Pavilion Sunday with Rob Zombie in what’s being billed as a Halloween Hootenanny with “the Gruesome Twosome.”

The rock legend talked about what a night out with Zombie and Cooper looks like, what he’s listening to, and “crotch rock.”

You've been on stage for 40 years, is there an impetus to stay relevant? do you listen to rock today? If you look at the bands that are still here from the 60s - Bowie, Elton John, Alice Cooper - we’re all still working, we're all still touring. I think I'm doing some of the best shows I've ever done. I don’t think what we do is disposable. My generation seems to have a different work ethic. I always thought, "Do 25 albums." I'm a lifer. A lot of bands today get together, play, make an album, break up and form another band. There's no bands staying together.

They do sound less frivolous than in your time. A lot of rock I listen to is a yawn. I know whats coming. A lot of hard rock today sounds joyless. Bands forget to have fun. Rock should be played from the crotch not the brain.

What's wrong with them? The songwriting has gone out the window. The music on the charts is too high-tech, not married to the lyrics. When I learned how to write lyrics, I was listening to Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Gershwin. We were competing with Zeppelin, the Beatles. We really had to write great songs to get on the radio. If you write a ballad, you better break a girl’s heart. We spent 90 percent on the music and 10 percent on the theatrics. The theatrics come easily.

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October 13, 2010

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists play Baltimore December 7

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will make a previously unannounced stop in Baltimore in early December.

The DC punk rock band has been touring in support of their new album, "The Brutalist Rick Bricks,"* and were scheduled to stay on the road through December 6, when they'll play Terminal 5 in New York. 

Earlier this week, Hampden's The G-Spot posted on Facebook the band would play an additional show at their venue Tuesday, December 7.

Heks Orkest, which has members from disbanded bands like DC's Engine Down, will open for Leo. 

Doors open at 8 p.m. The show is open to all ages. 

Tickets go on sale Friday at missiontix.com and at Charmington's Cafe.

The G-Spot is at 2980 Falls Road.

Poster: Facebook

*Though, "the Brutalist Rick" has a nice ring to it. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 7:39 AM | | Comments (8)
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October 12, 2010

Video: Septimius the Great at Windup Space, and Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad's last show

Despite the tantalizing twofer, Midnight Sun didn't go to Windup Space Friday to watch Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad and Septimius the Great.

The feedback was that the show was, in the words of one Project Runway contestant, "cray cray."

Marmaduke gave out fake mustaches to everyone who came in, so that from stage, it looked like a boisterous crowd of Tom Sellecks.

Then Septimius came on, wearing a trench coat with a print louder than Dirty Marmaduke that actually matched the Windup's floor. 

It sounded too good to be true. And yet, guitarist Nikc Miller sent video earlier this week. It's after the jump. 

You might want to put on your sunglasses before staring Septimius do "I am fashion," or as he would say, "I AM FASHION."

Continue reading "Video: Septimius the Great at Windup Space, and Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad's last show" »

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October 11, 2010

Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad breaks up

Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad has broken up after seven years, guitarist Nikc Miller tells Midnight Sun.

The Baltimore costume band just played Windup Space Friday for their most recent self-release, "Boneslinky," a show that was joined by another local wacko/hero, Septimius the Great.

Miller said the band hadn't generated enough commercial interest to justify keeping it alive, especially as band members go on to other ventures, like working at an alpaca farm ranch. 

"In the early days, we could play anywhere within a day's notice," he said. "But now it's gotten too elaborate to make it work. There's only so many freaks and weirdos in this town that like us, and it's not clear they'll come out every time."

Dirty Marmaduke started recording in 2003, and performed its first live show two years later at what is now the Hamilton Arts Collective.

The five band members dress up in ludicrous costumes and sing songs like "Don't Let Jesus Ruin your Day," and "I Like Fat Girls." Lewd? Sure, but the band was also living, costumed testament that there's room in the city for every weirdo fond of a dollar store unicorn costume.

Miller said the goal was never to make money, which allowed them to stick together for seven years while barely breaking even. But as band members dabbled in other projects and careers, it was difficult to keep a balance.

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October 8, 2010

Septimius the Great added to Friday Marmaduke Flute Squad show

Baltimore Beer Week continues today with a series of events that starts off with a German beer breakfast at Metropolitan in Federal Hill, rare cask ale tastings at the Wharf Rat and way too many other shindigs to mention.

But some big news on the musical front: the mysterious Septimius the Great has been added to the Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad show at Windup Space

Tonight, Towson's (only?) costume band will release their latest, "Boneslinsky." It's only marginally a beer week event because the release party is sponsored by local brew Raven Beer.

Bobby E. Lee & The Sympathizers and The Go Pills will also play, but Septimius was a last minute addition. He will perform his quasi-hit, "I am fashion," after Marmaduke, though he would probably call it, "I AM FASHION."

"In many ways, he is our encore or we are his opening act," said a confused Nikc Miller, a Marmaduke band member.

Septimius last performed at Artscape, where he was decked out in a white cape and accompanied by three backup dancers. His debacle performance here.

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October 6, 2010

Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen toughens up with new band

 The two-year-old band The Pretty Reckless played Warped Tour and the V Fest, the British branch of the Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

Rolling Stone.com named the group among the top five breakout bands at this year's Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey.

Yet to most people, lead singer Taylor Momsen is still Jenny Humphrey, doe-eyed ingenue and fictional little sister to one of the "Gossip Girl" hunks.

But the 17-year-old says fans shouldn't expect to see Jenny's school-girl outfits when she plays The Quarter Sunday in support of the band's first album, "Light Me Up."

Though she said the album is inspired by her experience as a child star, it plays like light Joan Jett.

"At this point I've been working since I was 2 years old. I lead a very different life than most people," she said. Asked how she composed her lyrics, the actress scoffed, "I don't feel I need to explain my writing process. It is what it is."

For a full preview of the show, click here.

It's still debatable who the band's audience is. Midnight Sun wants to know: Will you be going to see Momsen because you're a "Gossip Girl" fan? Will you go see her at all?

Continue reading "Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen toughens up with new band" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:29 PM | | Comments (11)
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Trent Reznor's 'Social Network' soundtrack online for free

Five tracks from the soundtrack to the Facebook movie, "The Social Network," are now online for free. 

Trent Reznor - of Nine Inch Nails - scored the movie, and likely pushed for the tracks to be made available online gratis. Since returning as NIN, Reznor has pursued independent distribution of its music.

The movie, if you've been living under a rock, is a lighthearted romp about life on the Interwebs.

Reznor is just the latest rocker to score a major Hollywood movie with online cult status. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O scored last year's "Where the Wild Things Are."

He composed the music along with Atticus Ross, his longtime collaborator and producer.

On the soundtrack's website, Reznor describes the score as "electronic in basis, but mostly organic sounding. Lots of experiments and emphasis on sound fraying around the edges while focusing on the proper emotional tone for the various scenes."

After the jump, the free downloads. 

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October 5, 2010

U2 to play Baltimore in 2011, maybe

U2 could play Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium next year, the band accidentally revealed on its website.

In a post announcing plans to play the Glastonbury festival in 2011, U2.com also inadvertently revealed a possible date with Charm City June 22. 

Representatives for M&T Bank Stadium and tour promoters Live Nation have not returned calls for comment. 

It's not the first time the band has teased Baltimore with a possible performance.

Last year, Ravens president Dick Cass told Midnight Sun the stadium almost booked the band for a date, but it conflicted with the game schedule. 

But if the 2011 date works, it would be the first major league non-sports event at the stadium in recent years, and the biggest headliner in the area since Bruce Springsteen played M&T Stadium 1st Mariner last year.

Baltimore radio stations reported the 2011 rumor earlier this week.  But it wasn't any more than wishful thinking until the post went up Oct. 2.

A picture from the band's accidental post, after the jump. 

Continue reading "U2 to play Baltimore in 2011, maybe" »

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Rye Rye releases new single, "Sunshine," featuring M.I.A.

"Sunshine," the first single from Rye Rye's upcoming album, "Go! Pop! Bang!" is out. M.I.A., who signed Rye Rye to her NEET label, makes a cameo.

M.I.A. kicks off the single taunting Rye Rye about a school crush, before the Baltimore MC boasts about stealing back her man. All this over hand claps and gratuitous sass.

The Baltimore native posted the track Monday on her Facebook profile, before Stereogum picked it up. 

The new album has long been in the works, but was delayed last year while she was pregnant. 

It is now due to to be released early next year by NEET/Interscope. 

Last we heard from Rye Rye she was touring with M.I.A., who last performed in Baltimore at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest. 

Stream the single at Rap-up.

Continue reading "Rye Rye releases new single, "Sunshine," featuring M.I.A. " »

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October 1, 2010

Jason Derulo: "You won't catch me on the Jay-Z or the Usher tour"

Jason Derulo says he's not interested in making R&B. His new self-titled album is instead a bid at capturing an audience broader than the urban market. 

"I just want my music enjoyed by the world. You can't do that with just being in a box," he said. "You won't catch me on the Jay-Z or the Usher tour."

So far, it's a strategy that's working. "Whatcha Say" and "In My Head" have both earned multi-platinum status. 

But unspoken is the fact that even established R&B acts like Usher (see "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love") are moving away from genre-specific music.

The question for 21-year-old Derulo is: if he starts out in heavily-processed, auto-tuned dance music, can he go back to R&B?

Jason Derulo performs at Rams Head Live Friday night. The rest of this story is here. 

 

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:23 AM | | Comments (0)
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September 17, 2010

Rolling Stone ranks Sound Garden and True Vine among greatest 25 record stores

Baltimore gets two notches on Rolling Stone's list of the best 25 record stores in the country.

The magazine looked high and low for its online listicle, and named Fells Point's the Sound Garden - no stranger to awards - and True Vine in Hampden to No. 2 and No. 17, respectively.

Along with Chicago, Seattle, and New York, Baltimore is the only other city to have multiple stores on the round-up. Time to pull out that #localpride hashtag on twitter.

The Sound Garden is by now an institution in the city. At 10,000 square feet, it's musical nirvana. They buy and sell everything from vinyl to Blu-rays, and own a sprawling collection of old and new. Also, it has a pretty charming celebrity flickr gallery, where you can see Jonathan Richman besides Orlando Brown and Girls Gone Wild's Joe Francis.

True Vine doesn't just own rare vinyls, they own entire rare vinyl collections. The small Hampden store - recently relocated to a new place just around from the old shop - has an encyclopedic stock list. And they also carry loads from local artists.

Continue reading "Rolling Stone ranks Sound Garden and True Vine among greatest 25 record stores" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:39 AM | | Comments (7)
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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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